A couple of weeks ago the Greater London Authority published a fascinating resource for anyone interested in London schools.
It’s the GLA London Schools Atlas. The GLA have overlaid a map of London with tons of data about all the state schools in London. You can see all the schools in London and click on each school to see where it draws its pupils from. This gives you a lot of interesting information – such as, for example, if schools draw their pupils from local wards or from further away. You can also see that schools on the boundaries of boroughs often draw their pupils from the neighbouring boroughs.
You can also switch off this school view and switch on a filter that shows you how many pupils in each area go to state funded schools. In some areas, as few as 12-25% of pupils go to state funded schools. And you can overlay the map with the GLA’s projections about pupil places.
Anyone interested in London schools will find this interesting, but I think anyone interested in London will love it too. About 6 or 7 years ago the British Library did a wonderful exhibition of London maps. They had reproductions of the old Booth Maps of London, which were coloured according to wealth and poverty. The Booth maps of the late 19th century and John Snow’s cholera map of 1854 are both wonderful examples of how maps can be used to convey so much information in such an intuitive and compelling way. The London Schools Atlas is firmly in this tradition. It is fascinating to be able to compare across time – to compare the private school data on this map with the Booth wealth map, for example.
GLA map coloured to show areas with higher private school attendance
Extract from Charles Booth’s poverty map of London (from here)
Of course, the GLA today have the advantage on Booth and Snow in that GIS makes it much easier to do this kind of thing, and makes it so much easier for you to interact with the data and personalise it for your needs. But I think it is fair to say that when you look at this amazing Schools Atlas, you are looking at a concept that was pioneered in those same London streets 150 years ago.