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Schools group praised by Labour spokesman

05 December 2014

NICCOLA ELLIOTT/WALTHAMSTOW ACADEMY

In class: Tristram Hunt at Walthamstow Academy, last week 

In class: Tristram Hunt at Walthamstow Academy, last week 

THE United Learning Trust (ULT), a schools group with a "broadly Christian ethos", which includes private and state schools, was praised as an exemplar of co-operation between the state and maintained sector by the Shadow Education Secretary, Dr Tristram Hunt, last week.

Speaking at the ULT's Walthamstow Academy, in east London, Dr Hunt said that new regulations introduced by the next Labour government would require all private schools to form "hard-edged" partnerships with state schools.

Private schools would be ex- pected, "as a bare minimum", to lend specialist teachers to state schools, and provide expertise to help disadvantaged state-school pupils get into top universities.

Under Labour, the current business-rate tax relief given to private schools would be con-ditional on passing new Schools Partnership standards.

ULT runs 13 independent schools and 38 academies. The group's private schools are run by the United Church Schools Trust, formerly the Church Schools Company, and the academies are sponsored by a separate trust, United Learning.

"One only has to look at ULT's partnership to see the potential," Dr Hunt said. "Teacher development, shared cultural and sporting experiences, support to improve access to top universities - joint programmes have been developed that reach across this divide, bringing benefits to both."

The second largest schools charity involved with private and maintained schools is the C of E Woodard Corporation. Over the past two decades, it has pioneered co-operation between its 16 incorporated independent schools, 16 maintained schools, and five sponsored academies.

Many of Dr Hunt's proposals are already in place, the Senior Provost, the Revd Brendan Clover, said this week. "This sharing of good practice improves the educational experience of all our young people."

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