Machete case schools unite in art college bid

The two schools at the centre of the gang-linked killing of a schoolboy in South-east London are planning to unite in a bid for specialist school status concentrating on the arts.

Thomas Tallis School, where murderer Nathan Brown studied, has linked up with Kidbrooke School where his victim Carl Rickard was a pupil.

The two schools are now trying to raise Pounds 100,000 between them which will allow them to bid for specialist school status. If the bid is successful, pupils from Thomas Tallis would cross the threshold of Kidbrooke's gates where 14-year-old Carl was killed in January.

Each school plans to concentrate on a different aspect of the arts. Thomas Tallis will focus on art and design, Kidbrooke on the performing arts.

The joint bid means that the schools will offer shared after-hours activities and each school's pupils will be encouraged to enrol in the other's sixth form if it offers the general national vocational qualification they need.

An Old Bailey jury last week found Nathan Brown - leader of a gang said to base itself on the Chinese Triads - guilty of murdering Carl with a machete.

Thomas Tallis headteacher, Nick Williams, said: "In the light of recent events it seemed important to make a statement about collaboration. A joint bid would provide facilities for both schools and allow us to run more courses which could encourage more pupils to stay on for post-16 education."

Kidbrooke's headteacher, Patricia Jaffe, said: "The bid would create a much wider range of courses and possibilities for youngsters in the area. We would be able to offer dance, music and drama post-16."

She believes that new arts facilities could help those pupils who are suffering from witnessing the attack on Carl to recover. She added: "What happened was not to do with a rivalry between the schools. It just happened to be brought to the school gates."

The schools are, however, finding it difficult to raise the Pounds 100, 000 needed to launch their bid. Said Mr Williams: "We have held an art auction and we are looking for business sponsors but right now money is the stumbling block."

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