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How business sugared the literacy pill

In an otherwise thoughtful article, Jon Snow (TES, August 1) was unnecessarily pessimistic about the role of business in schools. Over the past 10 years I have encouraged business groups - from the largest corporations to the small factory round the corner - to take an active part in the life of this school. Sometimes we have benefited financially from these links, but my starting point has always been never to ask for money. At present, two staff from the local Midland Bank visit weekly to work with the children and there are valuable benefits for both partners in this community relationship.

As a committee member of Newham Education Business Partnership, I frequently see at first hand the important contribution which local business leaders make to both primary and secondary education. As a result of this involvement, to give just one example, over a five-year period all Newham primary schools will directly benefit from a substantial financial contribution by Tate Lyle which is aimed at improving standards of literacy and numeracy.

For this borough at least, the White Paper provides an exciting opportunity for education and business and creates a new momentum to help us extend the highly successful partnership that already exists.

CIARAN CLERKIN

Headteacher Selwyn primary school Cecil Road London E13

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