Bringing state and independent schools together

Contrary to widespread belief, independent schools have never disdained contact with their counterparts in the state sector. There has never been a “Berlin Wall” between them, as some politicians have alleged. Today more schools in the two sectors are working together in partnership than ever before.

The continuing increase in cross-sector partnership work has been one of Alistair Lexden’s principal interests since he was General Secretary of the Independent Schools Council between 1997 and 2004.

At question time in the Lords on 7 March, he asked the Education Minister, Lord Agnew of Oulton, if he had noted that “nearly 650 independent and state schools are now collaborating in the teaching and performing of music” and if he agreed that “ further scope exists to increase these joint ventures as independent schools seek to play a larger part in the education system as a whole, in accordance with the Government’s wishes.”

In his reply the Minister added that another 492 independent schools invite pupils to attend lessons or performances, and 51 second music teaching staff to state schools.