Southwark Schools' Learning Partnership
The Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership (SSLP) is the sum of our Partner (Southwark) and Associate Partner (neighbouring borough) schools. Our schools are both independent and state, and can be sole educators or part of multi academy trusts. What they have in common is a desire to work in partnership to increase opportunities for students in Southwark and for their classmates. We achieve this by providing academic and vocational opportunities both for students and for teachers, where each can learn with and from their peers. We learn together by sharing our common goals and challenges.
The SSLP priorities for 2021/22 were to enhance student voice and to encourage a partnership-wide conversation about mental health. With all the opportunities Dulwich College provided throughout the year we are strove to consider these priorities and how they could be central to our planning and delivery.
The SSLP welcomes schools with an ambition to work in partnership for the benefit of students from Southwark, and also their classmates. All schools aim to share and to learn from each other in equal measure.
The SSLP aims that staff in our schools are in touch with one another and able to share their passion for their specialist subjects, exchange views about educational issues and share good practice.
The SSLP provides a diverse programme of opportunities that aims to inspire the aspirations of every student. By working together, and harnessing the student voice, we offer interactive opportunities.
The SSLP was established as a DFES London Challenge project in 2003.
It followed an initiative to promote the participation of independent and maintained schools in the challenge of raising the standards of all pupils across the capital – breaking the correlation between economic disadvantage and achievement.
Two headteachers, Marion Gibbs of James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) and Dr Irene Bishop of St Saviour’s & St Olave’s CE School (SSSO) founded the SSLP as the South London response, with funding from the DfES. The SSLP was also invited to participate as an informal associate of the National College for Schools Leadership’s Networked Learning Communities programme.
In 2015, when both Marion Gibbs and Dr Irene Bishop retired, the co-directorship moved to Dr Joseph Spence of Dulwich College and Grainne Grabowski of St Michael’s Catholic College (representing the independent and state schools respectively). In 2017 Catherine May of St Saviour’s & St Olave’s, assumed the role of co-director for state schools, taking over from Grainne Grabowski.
The Partner Schools involved have changed over the years as schools have faced their own challenges. In recent years the SSLP has introduced the category of Associate Partner as we welcome actively interested schools from outside the borough who, by means of public transport, offer good links with Southwark.
All schools in the SSLP commit an annual membership fee to fund some activities and the administration of the partnership. They also provide staff time from a dedicated link teacher for meetings and communication. Schools host events and provide resources for specific projects or activities.
The Master of Dulwich College is a co-director of SSLP, along with Marcus Huntley from Compass School Southwark. The college also provides a part-time member of staff to coordinate the partnership.
SSLP activities run by The College staff in 2021/22 took place across many different disciplines.
Two of our key activities are listed as separate entries on this site: Thinking About and the Young Economists' Conference.
Teachers from five departments offered new Oxbridge preparation Courses in PPE, Maths, Law, History and English. Each course lasted 10 weeks with weekly online sessions lasting one hour/ Forty-five pupils from eight schools participated. Collectively departments across the College held 56 mock Oxbridge interviews and 9 mock medicine interviews out of the ninety six organised by the SSLP. At least 17 of these applicants received a positive offer.
Our Local Partnership Coordinator spends one day per week running the Thinking About webinar series for SSLP schools which was established during the Covid lockdowns. in 2021/22 there were sixteen webinars attracting a total of 677 viewers. All schools within the SSLP have the opportunity to host or co-host a webinar providing their pupils in Year 10 and above the opportunity to interview guest speakers on a public platform. Dulwich College hosted webinars on the following topics: Adolescent Mental Health with Professor Stephen Scott, Blood Legacy with Alex Renton, Digital Art, Catalysis with Professor Waymouth, Stained Glass with Helen Whittaker, High Finance and Mental Health with Vikram Kumar, It’s a Sin with Sir Nick Partridge, Climate Activism with Paul Turner and Art History with Art History Link Up. A hybrid session was held with Elif Shafak for International Women’s Day when pupils from four schools attended in person and it was available to others online.
We started a new careers webinar series for younger pupils called So You Want To Be. Our Local Partnerships Coordinator was given time to coordinate and run these webinars, opening up the hosting opportunity to all SSLP schools. There were a total of five webinars, each held twice to cover all school lunchtimes. Older pupils took the role of host and classes of key stage 3 pupils joined under teacher supervision. Dulwich College hosted So You Want To Be An Architect.
Having worked previously with the Aegis Trust the College hosted a Pathways to Peace workshop for pupils from SSLP schools. Representatives from the Trust joined in person and also video link from Rwanda. Pupils present learnt about genocide recognition and prevention and used this knowledge to understand a little more about the current war in Ukraine. We also hosted a Film Screening and talk for Standing Firm as part of Windrush Day. Arthur Torrington CBE was accompanied by both the director and the producer of the film in talking to 125 pupils from SSLP schools.
Many of our staff members joined SSLP subject hubs, with our school counsellor being particularly pro-active in arranging termly virtual meetings for counsellors from other SSLP schools. This concluded last year with an in-person meeting at Dulwich Picture Gallery which the group have expressed a desire to repeat.
The College considers participating in SSLP events as important to the partnership as instigating and organising activities. This year we sent 30 Year 7 pupils to a musical collaboration event at St Saviour’s & St Olave’s which was organised by Queen’s College London and the SSLP Music Hub. A team of six novice debators attended the SSLP Debating Competition at JAGS school with seven other schools and three teams of three entered the SSLP Sixth Form Science Quiz hosted at Alleyn’s School, one team retained the trophy for Dulwich College.
As with previous years the College hosted an end of year dinner for SSLP Headteachers and Link teachers, this year expanding the invitation to other teachers who had been significantly involved in the partnership. This helps secure relationships between the schools and has led to creative discussion of new ideas and suggestions.
SSLP monitors the impact of its activities by seeking feedback from staff and students. An annual report is produced which informs future planning.
In December 2020 the SSLP entered a three-year agreement with ImpactEd to conduct a thorough evaluation of the partnership.
A range of activities, both academic and vocational, are put on for students during a typical academic year. Pupils from years 7 to 13 have the opportunity to take part in lectures and seminars, conferences, science weeks, glee days, careers events etc.
Activities for pupils and teachers take place each term, hosted by different schools within SSLP. Link staff attend termly meetings and events and engage in ongoing visits and dialogues between schools.