Get real about what partnership means

19th December 1997 at 00:00
Some of Mike Baker's views on independent schools seem to come from another planet.

Like maternity, partnership is a Good Thing. Both sectors have much to learn from and contribute to the other, but if suggestions are limited to joint day-time use of facilities, major opportunities will be lost.

Mr Baker suggests that a Russian teacher be "lent" to a neighbouring school, and that state schools should have use of music facilities "on a regular basis during the school day". Does he think the Russian teacher is not already fully employed, or that the music rooms are not crammed with musicians already throughout the day?

Partnership can be successful on many different fronts. Structured courses in professional development are offered here to teachers from primary and secondary schools in both independent and state sectors. Teachers share good practice as they work towards validated degrees.

We have had teacher exchanges each term for several years with our neighbouring state school. Children from a wide area use our facilities each week as members of sports clubs in their non-curricular time.

Other initiatives proliferate elsewhere, including integrated work involving headteachers from both sectors on key matters such as curricular reform and teacher recruitment.

Partnership is not a bandwagon; it's a vessel already under sail and deserves favourable winds from all points of the compass.

CHRISTOPHER S MARTIN

Headmaster Millfield School Street, Somerset

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