Partnership: Achieving more together

Everyone in education wants the best for children.  It doesn’t matter what kind of school you teach in or lead, you want to ensure that pupils receive the broadest and best education possible.

Most schools are experiencing the discomfort of budget cuts and realise that economies of scale will help them to deliver effective staff training and pupil experiences.  By partnering with local schools, we can develop better opportunities for our teachers and our pupils so that everyone benefits.

Resources are not evenly spread: some schools (academies or independents) have facilities that can be used by other schools so that more children have opportunities to experience them.  Other schools have subject specific teaching expertise that can be shared through workshops and teaching collaborations.  And there are many types of partnership projects that schools and their pupils can enjoy: in sports and the performing and creative arts, in governance and sponsorship.

Whether these are large formal projects such as the sponsoring of academies (Eton, Wellington, Westminster) and establishing formal relationships across groups of schools (for example, the York Partnership) or whether they are smaller scale, sharing individual events at a local level, these collaborative projects have value in bringing communities together and enhancing educational opportunities for children who might otherwise miss out.

Many schools are already making impressive contributions by offering use of sporting facilities and even coaching for free and the Schools Together website invites schools to demonstrate what they are already doing so that others can join in and follow suit.

All schools have something to gain from the schools together website.  Schools can demonstrate their current projects, showing what they are already doing, and they can see what others are doing, collecting ideas, seeing what is possible and, through the website, contacting other schools with a view to developing partnerships so that pupils can be inspired, doing and experiencing more than might have been achieved by any school alone.

A majority of schools are not like the largest academies and the famous name private schools.  Small schools have little time or money to spare, yet much can be achieved by working alongside each other.  Schools Together encourages governors and teachers, heads and pupils to come together in a spirit of mutual support.  The best projects grow from good working relationships and projects that develop in response to local needs, for example revision classes for Year 11 students at secondary schools in the Wimbledon Partnership and Wellington College working with teachers and students at Archbishop McGrath school to support students’ preparation and applications for competitive universities; a design and technology project between Taverham Prep School and a local special needs school.

State and independent schools have much in common and often face similar challenges, particularly over budgeting economically and making resources stretch further.  Schools Together is supported by the DfE, the Independent/State Schools Partnerships Forum, the main teaching and heads’ unions and all ISC Associations for independent schools.

Every school has something to offer partnership and the pupils can only gain.


About the author

General Secretary, Independent Schools Council

As a representative of the independent sector of education, I aim to support the interests of pupils, teachers, heads, bursars, governors and schools by actively promoting and defending the work of a wide range of schools.