Wednesday, December 23, 1998 Published at 18:45 GMT
Independent schools urged to work with state sector
Public schools such as Eton are urged to work with state schools
The government has appointed an advisory body to help develop co-operation between independent schools and the state sector in England.
Earlier this year the Department for Education made £1.2m available to set up partnerships between independent schools and their state sector neighbours, moving away from any former antagonisms between the Labour Party and the private school system.
It is intended that independent schools will share facilities such as playing fields or musical intruments with less well equipped local state schools.
At present there are 47 partnerships running, with the government hoping to expand that number next year.
"We want to spread opportunities for partnership more widely and get away from the idea that the state and independent sectors have different goals. They both aim to do the best for their children. If we can put that idea first, it makes sense for us to work together," said Estelle Morris.
Any school in England can apply for funds to set up a partnership programme, with the money due to be made available between April 1999 and 2001.
The advisory panel, which will help to develop new partnerships and monitor the progress of those already running, will include representatives of both state and private schools.
The chairman will be Chris Parker, headteacher of the independent Nottingham High School. Panel members include Eric Wood, Chief Education Office at Warwickshire County Council, Patricia Langham, headteacher of Wakefield Girls' High School and Bob Evans, head of Osmotherley County Primary School in North Yorkshire.