Letter: School teamwork

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Please could I put the record straight following the mention of Peter Lampl and the Sutton Trust in the article "Gates joins the great US giveaway" (4 December 1998).

The article mentioned that "prep schools would be given pounds 40m by the Sutton Trust", the educational trust set up by Peter Lampl. In fact, the trust proposes to provide sufficient financial support to one or more of the leading academic private secondary schools (which were previously direct grant or grammar schools) so that they are able to take any child based on merit irrespective of the family's ability to pay. The character of the school would change as they became institutions for the most talented regardless of parental wealth and there would be no limit on the number of funded places. The figure pounds 40m for 14 years has appeared in the press but in reality the trust is still in the discussion stage with schools and has not yet established the cost of the pilot schemes.

Meanwhile we are spending significant sums of money on university summer schools and private/state school partnership schemes. But there are limits to what any individual can do. Please could we appeal through your columns for other foundations, entrepreneurs and businesses to join us in opening up the leading private schools to talented children regardless of their families' means?

LAURA BARBOUR

Administrator

The Sutton Trust

London SW1

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