York ISSP started a programme of master classes 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. Subsequently, our annual master classes have 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. We have links with the university in Yekaterinburg and with a gymnasium in Germany.
The three independent schools provide Latin GCSE to students from maintained schools where it is not on the curriculum, and thus far excellent grades have been achieved. We have pooled our resources to offer History of Art AS level to students from all schools, and GCSE Astronomy was introduced to the programme in 2017. In 2015 we ran our third summer school for Year 7 pupils, and our second residential course in the October half term, combining intellectual explorations 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 involves six York primary schools.
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. We held our first series of events in Spring 2008.
School facilities are often used, including classroom and sports facilities. Teachers from all partner schools are utilised to offer annual master classes, one-off conferences, residential courses and summer schools for pupils, as well as themselves benefiting from twilight training sessions.
We have pooled our resources to offer History of Art AS level to Sixth Form pupils from all schools. In 2015 we ran our third summer school for Year 7 pupils, and our second residential course in the October half term, combining intellectual explorations with outdoor education challenge.
The York ISSP is an ongoing project with events and classes running both during and outside of the school term. The partnership will continue as long as involvement and interest amongst pupils in the York area remains high.