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Schools Together Group discussion meeting: Primary partnerships November 2019

Date: 13 November 2019
Venue: The Ark Globe Academy
Organisers: Schools Together Group

Summary: The Primary Partnerships event highlighted successful models of collaboration between primary schools and others, across phases and sectors for the benefit of everyone. The discussion was lead by a panel from state and independent schools.

Christina Astin, from the Schools Together Group committee, introduced the discussion by referring to the '#powerofpartnerships' trending on social media. Christina spoke of secondary schools being able to offer subject expertise and facilities to primary schools, as well as gaining valuable leadership experience for their older pupils. However the focus for this discussion meting was on projects with a different focus, their uniting theme being partnerships involving primary schools.

The four speakers each gave a brief address, introducing their project, drawing out ideas that can be generalised to other areas, and offering tips and advice. Their presentations can be seen here:


  • Katie Giles, Highgate Pre-prep (lesson study in primary)
  • Annabelle Clarke, Wilberforce Primary (Education with Character)
  • John Layng, Emanuel School (Primary Ambitions – an enrichment programme)
  • Cassie Buchanan, Charles Dickens Primary School (London South Teaching Schools Alliance)

Some interesting points from the speakers:

  • The idea that an independent school could “help” state schools was preposterous – all the schools were learning together.
  • Joint CPD for development, not performance management.
  • As a partnership develops there comes a ‘tipping point’ when you realise you are starting to make a difference together.
  • We judge the partnership not by footfall, but by how meaningful they are.
  • It was important to get our senior leaders’ / teachers’ aims and beliefs to converge.

The questions and discussion from the floor ranged around:

  • Time commitment.
  • Numbers of children involved in partnerships.
  • Impact evaluation.
  • Partnerships and bursaries – separation/transparency.
  • The question of recruiting staff/pupils to run a partnership project or approaching schools to be involved – which comes first?
  • Memorandums of understanding.

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Please contact the group if you would be interested in serving on the steering committee or one of its subcommittees, or if you could offer to host a future meeting.

The Schools Together Group is a nationwide group of those in state and independent schools with an interest in inter-school partnerships: "Harnessing the power of partnerships for the benefit of children".