School partnerships – Minister's comments a 'green light' for pioneering proposals, say local Liberal Democrats

Local Lib Dems are urging Haringey Council to listen to their own Government Minister to ensure that Haringey’s young people can benefit from facilities at local independent schools. The party, which has already asked the Labour Council to investigate the matter, says recent well-publicised comments by Labour Minister and Deputy Leadership candidate Alan Johnson should be taken up by Haringey Council.

Lib Dem councillor Martin Newton says that Alan Johnson is highlighting a policy already pioneered by local Lib Dems. Local councillors have already met with independent schools in Haringey to help to forge new links with community schools in the borough.

Liberal Democrat councillors working on a scrutiny report into the ‘extended services’ provided by local schools proposed that the Council should seek links and partnerships with independent schools. Councillors discussed their ideas with the Masters and Bursars of both Channing and Highgate schools, who responded very positively to this pioneering proposal.

A number of possible pilot projects were discussed, with the Council being asked to follow this up with urgent discussions with the schools to get these exciting projects off the ground – for the benefit of pupils from both the state and independent sectors.

Cllr Martin Newton, comments:

“We raised the issue of private schools providing extended services to the state sector in early March with positive feedback from both Channing and Highgate and the Council in subsequent meetings.

“There are lots of opportunities here. We should look also at the provision of university entrance tuition, sporting activities, and tuition in subjects not provided in other local schools.”

Cllr Gail Engert, Lib Dem spokesperson for Children and Young People adds:

“It is vital that we keep looking for innovative ideas to ensure that all Haringey’s children receive a better education. This pioneering idea is a great example and one that if taken forward should provide real benefits for the children of Haringey. Lib Dems welcome renewed pressure from the minister, and we hope it does not fall on deaf ears with the local Labour council – they must be pushed into taking action.”