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Private schools told to share teachers with local state schools under new

By on September 25, 2019

Traditionally this has been done by offering bursaries and fee discounts to children from disadvantaged families. However, many private schools now enter into partnerships with local state schools, which can include sharing teachers in specialist subjects or opening up their sports facilities. Private schools have been told to share teachers with local state schools, amid mounting pressure on them to justify their charitable status.The Department for Education (DfE) published new guidance on ways in which fee-paying schools should collaborate with their neighbouring state schools.Independent schools could allow state educated pupils to join their classes in subjects such as languages and Classics, it suggests. Private schools could also share facilities such as science laboratories with nearby state schools, it adds, while teachers from fee-paying institutions could share lesson plans and resources.The new guidance comes against a backdrop of growing pressure on the country’s most prestigious private schools to step up their efforts to help less well-off pupils.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Three quarters of independent schools in England are registered as charities, earning them favourable business rates and VAT exemptions on fees.To qualify as a charity they must demonstrate that they provide “public benefit” to a reasonably wide section of the public, rather than to a narrow group of wealthy individuals. Julie Robinson, general secretary of the Independent Schools Council, said: “The vast majority of independent schools have established partnership projects with state schools, at varying levels according to their capacity, for the benefit of all involved.”Through partnership work, we encourage all schools to continue supporting teacher training opportunities, sharing governance expertise and enriching the curriculum so that more children can thrive.”State schools are encouraged to sign a “memorandum of understanding” with their private school counterpart, where they enter into a formal agreement about their commitments. The DfE guidance also encourages universities to help struggling local state schools by for example, mentoring pupils who want to progress into higher education or training teachers.    Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Last month, the Education Secretary told private schools to open up their swimming pools to local primaries as part of a new Government plan to boost swimming lessons.Damian Hinds called on private schools to help children from neighbouring state primaries learn to swim by allowing them to use their sports facilities.Just over half of private schools already share their facilities with other schools, as well as some offering coaches to local primary schools.  Lord Agnew, the schools minister, said: “When organisations across the education sector work together the positive impact on pupils can be huge – raising aspirations and unlocking young people’s potential. So much good work already goes on but I want to see more of it.”Ministers have backed down on proposals to scrap the charitable status of private schools that do not help out their state-school neighbours.A schools green paper and the Conservative election manifesto said that independent schools would be required to sponsor academies, forge formal partnerships with state schools or offer a significant number of bursaries to poorer children to retain their tax status.However, the plan has been quietly dropped and the DfE has since set up a new unit to facilitate partnerships between state and private schools.    read more

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