Lewisham’s schools are set to benefit from the new Lewisham Learning Partnership, but concerns over the body becoming a separate legal entity remain.

The school-led partnership, which operates from council funding, seeks to increase education standards across all maintained schools in the borough.

Speaking at an overview and scrutiny education and business panel meeting, Councillor Luke Sorba said he supports the aims of the partnership, but was concerned about long-term plans to separate itself as a legal entity.

He said previous discussions on the plan revealed partnership leaders would be able to sell its services to other schools to bring in revenue, diverting focus from Lewisham.

He said: “Our feeling was the given the challenge we have in Lewisham, we’d rather it really concentrated on the challenged that we have at home before it acquired an ambition to trade.

“We didn’t see the advantage of having an organisation wholly funded by the council that might become a separate legal entity and change the relationship that we currently have.”

Executive director of children and young people Sara Williams said without legal status the partnership would not be able to able to directly employ staff of enter contracts.

She said this was a model adopted by other borough, included Tower Hamlets.

She said: “It’s not on the agenda of the body at the moment but ultimately it would be for the partnership to decide how it operates. It is a partnership which we are part of and it has to be effective, it has to determine its own future and structure etcetera.”

Cllr Alan Hall said there would be further consultation, including with the childrens and young people’s select committee, before there were any proposed changes to the status and structure of the partnership.