Green pledges cash for school improvements

Billionaire Philip Green was ready to go back to school as Retail Week went to press, with the launch of the Arcadia Specialist Schools Initiative.

It is the first time that a fashion retailer has supported the Government's programme of education reform to help schools to raise standards - in partnership with private-sector sponsors and supported by additional Government funding.

Heads from the top 50 secondary schools that applied for sponsorship were invited to Arcadia's HQ yesterday.

Together with Secretary of State for Education Charles Clarke, Green was scheduled to brief them on how he plans to promote retail as a career.

Arcadia is donating£1.25 million, which equates to£25,000 per school, upon achievement of specialist status.

Applicant schools were asked to raise an initial£50,000 through private sector sponsorship and present a four-year plan detailing how they would deliver their specialism.

The initiative is separate from Green's plans to establish a college to provide formal retail industry training for school leavers.