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 2020/21 were to enhance student voice and to encourage a partnership-wide conversation about race and racism in education. With all the opportunities Dulwich College provides this year we are striving to consider these priorities and how they can 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 Catherine May from St Saviour's & St Olave's. The college also provides a part-time member of staff to coordinate the partnership.
SSLP activities run by The College staff in 2020/21 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.
Collectively departments across the College held 47 mock Oxbridge interviews and 12 mock medicine interviews out of the seventy one organised by the SSLP. At least 18 of these applicants received a positive offer.
Our Art Department organised for Artist Kate Davis and Painter Jadé Fadojutimi to give virtual talks, these were joined by five SSLP schools and Art History LinkUp pupils. The Music department hosted an interactive web lesson focusing on Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata, a set-piece for GCSE pupils; the lesson included the history of the piano, listening and appraising activities and structured analysis with an annotated score; it was attended by four schools. The MFL department has for a number of year’s provided Beginners’ Arabic classes using a teacher from SOAS; this year these were provided online and attracted a record 12 pupils from two schools, with one pupil applying for French and Arabic Studies at Cambridge. Our school Counsellor began an SSLP Hub for others in a similar role; three virtual meetings were held and membership grew to thirteen participants sharing ideas and best practices.
We also open our OA networking events to pupils and teachers from SSLP Schools. At our Third Sector event we were joined by OAs Andy Agar and Nick Rusling. Andy and Nick spoke of their experience in the third sector during the coronavirus, as well as looking beyond to the future post pandemic. At our Entrepreneurs Webinar we enjoyed hearing from Alex Hall OA, tech entrepreneur, and Jo Cruse, education entrepreneur. Alex and Jo shared their fascinating stories; also on the panel were current pupils with their perspective as young entrepreneurs. Our Healthcare webinar attracted the largest audience from the partnership community, coming on the evening after the announcement of the easing of lockdown.
The College considers participating in SSLP events as important to the partnership as instigating and organising activities. Classes from the middle and upper schools submitted recordings to the SSLP Music Hub for a collaborative musical montage celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday using the famous theme of the first movement of his 5th Symphony. Our creative writing pupils attended a digital poetry workshop with poet Suhaiymah Mazoor Khan where they explored issues of race, culture and identity. A-Level Science pupils entered the SSLP Science quiz, 26 teams competed for the trophy which was won after six question rounds and a picture round.
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.