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£1M TO FOSTER LINKS WITH INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS - MORRIS

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A new£1m grant to build links between state and independent schools has been announced by school standards ministe...
A new£1m grant to build links between state and independent schools has been announced by school standards minister Estelle Morris. Following recommendations from the advisory group on

independent/state school partnerships there will be:

- a£1m partnership fund - which builds on£600,000 announced earlier

to fund a number of pilot projects - to run over two years from next

April to encourage schools to develop longer term partnership

projects

- a new advisory group to carry out and build on the good work that

has already been done

Addressing the annual Headmasters, and Headmistresses'

conference in Jersey yesterday, Ms Morris said:

'I am pleased to have the opportunity to raise the profile of

state/independent partnerships, and specifically the role that

independent schools can have in helping us improve school standards.

The Advisory Group has consulted widely on this. Their report,

'Building Bridges' which is published today, makes 14

recommendations.

'The government has responded to the report and has accepted all

of the recommendations. I am pleased to announce that Chris Parker,

head of Nottingham High School, has agreed to chair the new

advisory group.'

'Some of the report's recommendations are for the short term, while

others seek longer term attention. Most of them call on all

partners in the education service to play a part in encouraging

greater integration between sectors for the benefit of all pupils

and for teachers, too.

'Examples of the partnership projects currently under way are:

- Ampleforth College in York is working on a maths scheme with St

Mary's Comprehensive School in Leeds

- Wells Cathedral School in Somerset is holding workshops with St

George's Community School

- King's College in Wimbledon, London is providing student mentors

for pupils at Hollymount First School

'There must be a change in culture, a move away from the idea

that each sector must operate totally separately from the other.

Happily, this has started to change, and we are beginning to benefit

from the co-operation between the sectors. We look forward to seeing

more projects which demonstrate the value of partnership.

'Our main aim in government is to see standards raised, and the

inspection process is key in achieving this. The joint agreement on

inspection arrangements announced in July builds on existing schemes

for inspecting schools which belong to an association affiliated with

the Independent Schools Council. The two schemes involved have been

evaluated by OFSTED and strengthened so that we have:

- an inspection framework consistent with that operated by HMI

- similar standards of judgement

- suitable quality control and assurance arrangements

- a regular six year inspection cycle

'Our top priority is to raise standards in schools, and we need to

work in partnership with all those concerned in the education of our

children to achieve that aim. I believe that strong partnership is

the way forward, and this will enable us to make best use of

available resources to provide a world class education system.'

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