The Faissola Foundation has announced an extension of its strategic partnership with the London Academy of Excellence (LAE) in support of students from low-income households.

The extension of the partnership will make possible an annual university-style residency programme for a group of LAE Faissola Scholars. The scholars are chosen based on contextual factors, such as their family's history of education and household income, as well as their exceptional academic achievement.

The first residency took place at UWC Atlantic College, St. Donats Castle in Wales. Future residency programmes are planned in Liguria, Italy. Founded by Michele Faissola, the Faissola Foundation has supported students at the LAE since 2022.

The first round of LAE Faissola Scholars included students now studying at Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics & Political Science. The LAE, based in Stratford, East London, is the top-ranked state sixth form provider in England and Wales, according to The Sunday Times Parent Power Survey.

The school, twice rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, recently became the first state school in the world admitted to the World Leading Schools Association. The Faissola Foundation aims to tackle inequality caused by socioeconomic circumstance by providing support for young people in the UK and Europe. 

Founder Michele Faissola said: "Both of my parents were teachers. They taught me that all children can build a foundation for success given the right tools and resources.

“The Faissola Foundation is happy to support organisations such as the LAE that are devoted to addressing the current crisis in educational inequality." Alexander Crossman, Headteacher of the LAE, added: "We are delighted to extend our partnership with the Faissola Foundation to provide ambitious, hard-working young people from low-income homes with the sort of educational opportunities that those from more affluent families take for granted."

Disadvantaged students are those who have been eligible for free school meals during their secondary education, as determined by the Department for Education. The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that 4.3 million children and young people in the UK live in relative poverty and 3.6 million in absolute poverty, leading to reduced opportunities for education and employment.

In the London Borough of Newham alone, where LAE is based, 50% of children live in poverty. Founded by Michele Faissola in 2020 in honour of his parents, The Faissola Foundation provides educational opportunities to European children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The foundation is based on the premise that education is the key to success, but that many underprivileged children unfortunately do not have the same educational opportunities as others. By providing financial and emotional support, the foundation seeks to give these children the tools they need to shape a better future for themselves. 


LAE was established in Stratford in 2012 to improve progression rates in Newham for students aspiring to win places at top universities. Its admissions criteria positively discriminate in favour of students who have been eligible for free school meals during their secondary education.

In less than a decade, LAE has sent more than 150 students to Oxford and Cambridge, more than 200 to medical schools and more than 1,500 to Russell Group universities.