Private schools aid failing neighbours

14th May 1999 at 01:00
State pupils will be linking up with independent counterparts for maths lessons. Biddy Passmore reports

TWO failing schools in London are to form partnerships with local independent schools to boost pupils' performance in mathematics.

They are among 199 schools in a pound;1.6 million, two-year programme of co-operation between the state and private sectors announced by schools minister Estelle Morris on Monday.

Pupils at Charles Dickens school, a state primary in Southwark which failed its inspection last November, will next term be learning maths with pupils from nearby James Allen's preparatory school, an independent school with a high academic reputation (see panel on right).

And Westminster City school, a state comprehensive due to come off special measures in the summer, is joining an existing partnership between Grey Coat's, a Church of England girls' secondary in Victoria, and Westminster, the highly-selective independent boys' school. The scheme covers maths teaching and co-operation on A-level economics.

The 56 projects approved for this second round of Government funding cover schools all over the country and will involve more than 19,000 pupils. Half will run for one year and half for two. All will be expected to show how the links will continue when the special funding stops.

The pound;1.6m is made up of the pound;1m previously announced by the Government plus pound;200,000 from educational philanthropist Peter Lampl through his Sutton Trust and an extra pound;400,000 stumped up by the Department for Education and Employment in response to the overwhelming number of good bids.

The approved schemes include a number to stretch more able students as well as some to pool expertise on special educational needs. Many involve the use of information and communication technology. One - between Henry Box, a state comprehensive in Oxfordshire, and the independent Cokethorpe School - covers the shared teaching of classics and classical studies.

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