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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 13:47 GMT
Team work pays off in Ripon
Ripon Grammar School
A school which was at the centre of the battleground over grammar schools is one of those forging closer links with its neighbouring comprehensive.

Last year Ripon Grammar School survived a ballot to change it to a non-selective school.

The 450-year-old school had an ally in the non-selective school across the road - Ripon College - which had recently been awarded specialist school status because of its expertise in technology.

At the time the heads said they were in favour of diversity rather than one big comprehensive.

The two schools campaigned against the changes - and two thirds of parents eligible to vote backed the status quo.

Paul Lowery
"We are trying to look for opportunities to work more closely together says head teacher Paul Lowery.
So perhaps it is no surprise that the schools are among those chosen by the government to be pioneers in a scheme designed to foster closer working relationships between grammar schools and non-selective schools.

They already have a close working relationship.

Pupils who are taking A-levels sometimes have lessons at the other school.

The schools have joint courses on art, design and technology and ICT.

Teachers from both schools undergo training together.

And subject teachers sometimes co-ordinate the topics they cover so that resources - and even lessons - can be shared between the two schools.

Online connections

For the schools, one of the most exciting links is a technological one, which will be built upon with the money (about 20,000) which comes from being part of the government's scheme.

The two schools are pooling their library resources online so that each has access to more materials for learning.

The head teacher of Ripon Grammar School, Alan Jones, said: "Being involved in this scheme will mean building on what we have already been doing in terms of library development.

girls in design and technology class
Ripon College is a specialist technology school
"It's a natural development in the working partnership between us and Ripon College."

As a specialist technology school, Ripon College has much expertise to draw on.

Although it is low on the league table for GCSE results in North Yorkshire, it was praised by the government for being one of the 30 most-improved schools in England this year.

It also runs adult education courses for the local community and last year 3,500 adult students studied there.

Ripon Grammar is third in the county's league table.

The head teacher of Ripon College, Paul Lowery, says the two schools draw on each other's strengths - the traditional curriculum at the grammar school and the college's expertise in technology.

The head teachers believe both staff, pupils and the local community in general benefit from the partnership.

"The children will get access to a much wider library stock as well as having greater opportunities to work with other students," said Mr Lowery.

At Ripon Grammar, the head teacher Alan Jones said: "Working together gives pupils a sense that Ripon - although it has two very different educational establishments - is interested in educating children wherever they go.

"It should help them develop together and improve their life-skills.

"The staff will find that much time and effort can be saved by the easier access to information and learning resources online."

See also:

07 Dec 01 | Education
Grammar schools to share expertise
11 Mar 00 | Education
Anti-grammar campaigners fight on
28 Jan 00 | Education
Ripon grammar goes to ballot
10 Jan 00 | Education
Tories campaign to save grammars
05 Jan 00 | Education
What future for grammar schools?
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