Letters Extra : Independent schools do want to share

4th July 2003 at 01:00

"Prejudice is leading state schools to ignore offers to use the facilities of their fee-charging neighbours, independent heads believe" (report, June 20).

Our recently published study of links between our member schools and their local communities, Good Neighbours , is cited in support of this statement. In fact our report stresses that such prejudice only occurs occasionally. "More often", it emphasises, "the facilities on offer are simply unsuitable, in size, range or location". Even more significant, it continues, "are timetabling problems". Schools in both sectors operate over roughly the same hours. Our members' facilities are generally available in the evenings and holidays. That is far more convenient for community groups than maintained schools.

As regards specific partnership projects with maintained schools put forward for government funding - enabling so much valuable work to be done together - there is a simple reason why nearly half have been turned down: the scheme has been massively oversubscribed.

Alistair Cooke
General Secretary
Independent Schools Council


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