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The York Independent State School Partnership (ISSP)

There are 12 schools involved in the Partnership - seven maintained schools, two Church of England academies and three independent schools. York ISSP started a programme of masterclasses for the most able students across the city in the spring of 2008 with the aim of providing academic challenge through opportunities which schools cannot provide alone. The annual master classes have therefore been a highly-regarded mainstay of the partnership. In addition, our activities have included CPD sessions for teachers, one-off conferences for students on leadership, global citizenship and so on, presentations on career aspirations, and a competition for entrepreneurs.

The three independent schools provide Latin GCSE to students from maintained schools where it is not on the curriculum; we have pooled our resources to offer Astronomy GCSE and History of Art AS level to students from all schools. In 2019 we ran our seventh summer school for pupils in Years 7 to 10 across the City of York, and in 2019 we also ran our seventh residential course for Year 9 students in the October half term, combining intellectual exploration with outdoor education challenge. In 2015, the Partnership made a successful bid for government funding offered to enhance teaching in primary schools through ISSP projects. With St Peter’s and Knavesmire Primary School taking the lead, this project started in the Spring of 2015 and involved six York primary schools. In Summer 2018 a further Primary ISSP projects was run at The Mount School for Year 6 pupils from over 12 different schools.

The Covid pandemic curtailed all of the partnership's face-to-face activities but many activities ran remotely with the annual masterclasses running once again in 2021 in the Spring Term.

The York ISSP website can be found at: and you can follow us on twitter: @yorkissp.


Partners in the York Independent State School Partnership are working together to:

provide the best educational opportunities for able and interested young people in York;
reach out to all young people with potential regardless of social, economic or educational background;
provide stimulating professional development for teachers and to update areas of knowledge and understanding;
promote mutual respect amongst teachers and students across the state and independent sectors;
develop opportunities for teachers’ career progression, including cross-sector moves where appropriate and desirable;
foster social cohesion in the City of York;
encourage links between schools, colleges, universities and other sectors – businesses, museums, heritage sector, etc – for the education and benefit of all members of the community of York.


The partnership was initiated in 2006 when Jonathan Taylor, Head of Bootham School, approached Patrick Scott, then Head of Educational Services at York City Council, to explore possible shared activities between all of the City’s schools. A bid written by Tricia Ellison, then Senior Advisor for York LA, and Jonathan Taylor, was successful in gaining significant funds from the government’s first scheme for encouraging such partnerships.

Once government funding ceased, the partnership schools decided to work together to keep York ISSP running as an independent identity. York ISSP now exists as a consortium and is directly funded by the partnership schools. It is a flagship partnership and one of the oldest in the UK.

Pupil Involvement

Through the different activities and projects, a variety of different ages are catered for from Year 7 to 10 Spring Term Masterclasses and Summer Schools to GCSE Latin and GCSE Astronomy for pupils in Years 11 and 12. Projects are open to all schools in the partnership.


The ISSP is an on-going project.