Misconceptions have plagued Government plans to foster links between independent and state sectors, heads and governors from south London schools were told this week.
Chris Parker, chairman of the Department for Education and Employment working group set up to report on the initiative, told the seminar that the idea of building bridges was to start at both ends. But some schools had seen the scheme as "crumbs from the rich man's table".
Marion Gibbs, head of James Allen's Girls' School - an independent school in Dulwich, which hosted the meeting - said it was about partnership, not patronage.
Mr Parker, who is also head of the independent Nottingham high, said he was pleased with the response for applications for DFEE grants to fund partnerships: out of 294 applications, 48 had been selected, serving some 11,000 pupils.
Mr Parker expects his report to be published in September. "The momentum is such that it would be a tragedy if we didn't get more funding for more links."