Independent sector's bold vision

20th April 2001 at 01:00
IBRAHIM Hewitt ("Assisted places plan can help Muslims", TES, April 6) highlights the existing powers that local education authorities have to buy places at independent schools. But only three LEAs - Cheshire, Trafford and Lincolnshire - seem to be making any use of these.

Even these authorities restrict numbers. Lincolnshire, which is doing more than the other two, funds no more than 50 places.

Wider access to independent school on the scale we suggest wll require action at parliamentary level.

Our Open Access to Schools in the Independent Sector (OASIS) proposals (where the Government would fund places at independent schools at the state-spending level, with the schools themselves paying the rest of the fees) provide the kind of bold national initiative that is needed.

Alistair B Cooke OBE General secretary Independent Schools Council Grosvenor Gardens House 35-37 Grosvenor Gardens London SW1

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