The profits of partnerships

9th January 1998 at 00:00
I am writing in response to Peter Wilby's Opinion column , "Business doesn't mean best when it comes to schools" (TES, December 12).

Mr Wilby fails to understand the basis of education partnership. Our activities at Whitbread are built on the premise of mutual benefits. These include pupils who see the purpose of what they are learning in an everyday context, rather than in the sometimes limiting confines of the classroom, or teachers who are able to use the experiences of what they have seen in business to help bring alive their teaching practice. Our own employees benefit from working with young people and teachers in developing their own personal and team skills.

We encourage our partner schools to measure the effect that working with us has on pupils and teachers. In one project involving a hotel and a group of primary pupils we played a part in raising their level of attainment in mathematics. Before the project the pupils were tested. A total of 45 per cent achieved a level 4 in maths. On completion of the project, four months later, 78 per cent achieved level 4. The head and staff agreed that the partnership with business played a major part in that achievement.

If Peter Wilby needs convincing of the benefits of such partnerships, then I invite him to spend some time with our education team.

SIMON WARD Director of strategic affairs Whitbread plc London EC1

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