School ties

October 27, 2016

The headline for the article on universities sponsoring schools overstates the difference between the vice-chancellors from the University of Oxford and Nottingham Trent University (“Oxford’s vice-chancellor is wrong: universities should not see running schools as ‘a distraction’”, 20 October).

Both have explained how universities can help with attainment; both universities have strong ties to local schools. What is at dispute is whether a third of university tuition funding should be tied to a university sponsoring a “successful” school. There is no evidence that university sponsorship is a golden bullet for school improvement; universities have sponsored some converter academies that remain inadequate or requiring improvement. It might work for universities in large cities to sponsor a school; there are particular issues for Oxford such that it would be mad to take on a school.

Mike Ratcliffe

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