Biddy Passmore reports on early steps towards co-operation between state and independent schools.
A NEW advisory group has been established to promote partnerships between state and independent sectors.
The group is, very suitably, made up of equal numbers of members from both sectors.
Chairman of the group, which will advise on distributing pound;1.2 million in grants over the next two years, is Chris Parker, headmaster of Nottingham High school, an independent, selective boys' school with 800 pupils.
Mr Parker also chaired the group's predecessor, which recommended funding for 47 projects out of the pound;600,000 available in the current year (pound;350,000from the Department for Education and Employment and pound;250,000 from Peter Lampl's Sutton Trust).
Also representing the independent sector is Steve Chinn, principal of Mark College in Somerset, a special school with 85 boys, and Patricia Langham, head of Wakefield Girls' High school.
The five representatives from the maintained sector include the newly-knighted David Winkley, former headteacher of the Grove primary school in Birmingham and now director of the National Primary Trust, and Eric Wood, chief education officer of Warwickshire, as well as three serving heads.
Last November, all schools in England were informed about the new programme and invited to apply for grant application packs. The money comes on stream in April and will be available for two years. This time, the Sutton Trust has boosted the Government's pound;1m fund by pound;200,000.