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The Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership

In September 2018, King’s Ely reached out to Ely College and Littleport and East Cambridgeshire Academy with a vision to create a collaborative educational partnership. As collaboration increased between the three schools and the partnership gathered momentum, a date was set to expand the partnership to invite additional schools in Ely and the surrounding villages to join.

In May 2019, with support from Deborah Leek-Bailey OBE, Tricia Pritchard from the Opportunity Area of East Cambridgeshire and the Fenlands, Jonathan Lewis, Service Director, Education Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and Sue Freestone, Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire a date was set to expand the partnership and to rename it the “Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership”.

Deborah Leek-Bailey OBE shared with those in attendance at the launch the benefits of collaborative working to raise the aspirations of young people and the teaching body in our schools. She said: “This exciting Independent State School Partnership is addressing a need within the local community and will undoubtedly provide many unique learning opportunities for both pupils and staff. A tremendous amount of dedication to the project’s success was exhibited by every school leader who attended the launch and some exciting projects are already underway. Such collaborations will not only raise aspirations but also impact positively on teaching and learning.”

Jonathan Lewis, Service Director, Education, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: “Whilst every school is unique, every school has something it can offer another school regardless of its size, status and performance. The development of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership is a unique and exciting opportunity to improve outcomes for children and young people in the area through sharing the skills, expertise and commitment of our talented staff in schools. Despite a challenging financial context, every child deserves access to a diverse range of opportunities and knowledge so they can successfully transition to adulthood. The partnership will provide a fantastic opportunity to support this objective.”

Director of Outreach at King’s Ely, Celia Etchegoyen, said: “The response from local schools to our Principal’s vision of creating an educational partnership in Cambridgeshire has been incredible. Eighteen head teachers and senior leaders from the primary and secondary education sectors attended the launch of the partnership at the Old Palace, King’s Ely. The enthusiasm and willingness of leaders to work collaboratively together to enhance the opportunities for the young people of Cambridgeshire bodes well for the future of this new partnership.”

Principal of Ely College, Richard Spencer, said: “As one of the founder members of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership, Ely College is proud to be able to share our good work for the benefit of other children in the community. Our own students have gained access to enrichment activities through the partnership; be it scientific lectures or attending a drama production. In challenging times, it is really encouraging to see local schools coming together in such a positive way. We congratulate King’s Ely for getting this project up and running. It is a real privilege to be involved in the collaboration which, I have no doubt, will go from strength to strength.”

Head of Littleport and East Cambridgeshire Academy (LECA), Scott Gaskins, said: “It is a real privilege to be a part of this partnership from the very beginning. Everyone at LECA is looking forward to sharing the wealth of opportunities we offer with the partner schools and helping to improve the enrichment of students across the county. It is a fantastic opportunity for students of all ages to work together and share unique experiences, and one that can only be positive for all involved.”

Head of St Bede’s Inter-Church School, Alistair Day, said: “We were delighted to join the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership, since a significant proportion of our students live in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire and this can restrict their access to the cultural experiences offered within the city of Cambridge. Our students who live in Ely were invited to participate in the Innovation Day hosted by King’s Ely and found the event to be really inspiring. Thank you to the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership for welcoming St Bede’s to share in this exciting venture.”

Headteacher Robert Arkenstall, Kate Bonney, said “This is a fantastic partnership which benefits children and teaching staff from across our area. Children have new opportunities to explore their passions and interests, to work collaboratively, to set themselves challenges, all of which teach them life long learning skills and knowledge. For professionals it is great to share ideas, innovations and resources which make richer opportunities for a broader curriculum for all. We enjoy the CPD and dialogue between like-minded people and love seeing the children thrive on the memorable projects. We are delighted to be involved and grateful to King's Ely for getting this initiative off the ground with such energy.”

At the launch of the expansion of the partnership, Headteachers and the panel were asked the following questions.

  • How can we strengthen collaboration and partnership between our schools?
  • Governance-embed for sustainability
  • Create a Memorandum of Understanding
  • Allocate a champion named person to lead in each partner school
  • Belief in benefits-optimism!
  • Create a web site/online /or method to share offers of collaboration and enable information and projects to be shared
  • Identify areas of expertise
  • Identify areas requiring development
  • Create opportunities for STEAM events, sports fixtures and team building
  • Create effective support/funding for schools with little to no capacity /logistics
  • Availability of space for very small schools
  • Develop the use of social media
  • Create explicit benefits for the whole partnership
  • Teacher development, shared CPD opportunities for staff across the partnership, schools to identify what they can offer
  • Share areas of school improvement. Identify training for cluster groups.

What would we all like to see happen?

  • Identify and overcome potential barriers such as transport, time
  • Shared CPD
  • Encourage staff to become governors at partner schools
  • Support with recruitment
  • Curriculum and leadership development
  • STEAM, sporting and language opportunities for partnership schools
  • Work collaboratively together to improve the outcomes for young people in Cambridgeshire

More information

View King's Ely's profile page for all partnership case studies