One of the great things about being the lord mayor of the City of London is the sheer range of events that take place at Mansion House, my office and residence for the year.
In particular, I want to highlight two special – but very different – celebrations which I have the honour of hosting, just a few days apart.
The first was the annual Lord Mayor’s Children’s Party. The lady mayoress and I welcomed hundreds of children, from a great variety of backgrounds, and from across London, to the largest fancy dress party I’ve ever seen.
Read more: A manifesto for the City of London’s future
What a fantastic way to get back into the swing of things after the holiday season, surrounded by smiling young pirates and princesses.
Later this week, on Thursday, I will host a rather more serious gathering, the annual London Government Dinner.
I will be joined by the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the chair of London Councils Claire Kober, and the leaders, chief executives, and mayors of all 32 London boroughs.
The dinner will provide a valuable opportunity for me to speak about why I love this city, what makes it world-leading and how we can ensure that it shines ever brighter.
I strongly believe that London will remain a leading international hub for business, culture, history, tourism and the arts for decades to come. Our task as local government representatives is to enthusiastically promote what makes our city great.
We have the world’s foremost cluster of financial and professional services here in the City of London, a cultural scene that is second to none, and infrastructure that is the envy of other nations.
But I am most proud of our commitment to education.
Only a few decades ago, London’s schools lagged behind the rest of the country. However, our concerted efforts have resulted in improvements in everything from GCSE attainment to university access. We are now supporting a new generation of highly skilled workers, who will maintain London’s excellence.
The City of London Corporation recognised the need to ensure that young Londoners – particularly from deprived areas – receive education of the highest quality.
The Corporation now operates 13 top schools, supporting more than 8,000 children across six London boroughs, with two more planned in the next year.
The 2017 Sutton Trust report recognised the success of our eight academies. The City of London Academies Trust was the highest-performing academy sponsor for empowering pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to perform above the national average.
When I speak to international businesses which are considering a London office, I am proud to emphasise how strong our educational offer is – an excellent complement to our core business strengths.
At Thursday’s dinner, I look forward to congratulating London’s leaders for everything they have done in safeguarding London’s future through educating a new generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators.