HUNDREDS of talented youngsters will get a £100,000 learning boost in a ground-breaking new initiative between private and state schools.

Independent and state schools in York are set to raise academic achievement among some of the city's most gifted pupils - following a successful bid for Government funding.

In October, The Press reported how City of York Council's Children's Services Advisory Panel gave its backing to a bid to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) for £100,000, through the Independent and State School Partnership Grant Scheme.

Now the Department has announced the city has the money.

The initiative will help up to 800 York students aged 12 and over improve their understanding of the applied sciences.

It will enable joint working between the city's 11 state secondary schools, York College, Bootham School, The Mount and St Peter's, to support special master classes for able, gifted and talented pupils.

The classes will start in September this year and will focus on the application of science skills in five areas: health; society; the humanities; art; and the creative industries.

The funding will also allow teachers to work on their programmes with experts from the universities and heritage and business sector.

They will consult experts recruited from local academic, business and heritage organisations, to plan three master class workshops for able, gifted and talented pupils.

Overall this could mean 15 workshops, with three sessions of student contact.

Patrick Scott, director of learning, culture and children's services, said: "I am delighted that our bid for funding has been successful.

"I hope that the initiative will help break down barriers between the independent and state sector and will ensure that we can all benefit from each other's experience."

Diana Gant, head teacher at the Mount, said: "The Mount School is excited at the prospect of working closely with all the other schools in York. Both children and teachers will gain much from working together on such an innovative project."

Brian Crosby, head teacher at Manor School, said: "We are delighted by this exciting initiative, which will bring together the best practice in both the state and independent sectors."

City education chief Coun Carol Runciman, said: "One of our priorities is to give young people the skills and knowledge to work in today's world of science and technology.

"This funding would give York's secondary schools, and our independent school partners, the chance to work together, developing master classes to bring high level science teaching to young people."