The Wimbledon Independent State Schools Partnership (ISSP)

Partner: Coombe Girls' School, Coombe Boys' School, Ricards Lodge High School, Ursuline High School, Raynes Park High School, Grey Court School, St Mark's Academy, Mitcham
Partner type: Maintained School
Project category: Academic

Although the core members of the Wimbledon ISSP are seven secondary schools, King’s also works with more than twenty other sixth forms, secondary, special needs and primary schools on a regular basis. The core secondary schools in the ISSP are Coombe Girls’ and Boys’ Schools, Ricards Lodge High School and RR6, Raynes Park and Ursuline High Schools, Grey Court School and St Mark’s Academy. Arrangements at staff level include two King’s teachers serving as governors, reciprocal teacher training arrangements and participation in an IOE research project. Coombe & King’s staff benefit from a shared middle management course, and staff overseeing the UCAS process at all the schools attend an annual forum for sharing best practice. A member of the King's staff teaches Classical Civilisation and is available to support partner school pupils' university applications. Y11 pupils at the seven partner secondary schools benefit from weekly GCSE revision classes in the spring term for A/A* and C/D borderline English & Maths and in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, Spanish and French, & attend a talk on exam stress by our school counsellor. 10 pupils on free school meals who will be first generation graduates are selected from each of the seven schools every year for our three-year aspirations project, which includes master classes, debating, educational visits and a preparing for university day. Sixth-formers at our partner schools attend academic lectures and UCAS and Oxbridge presentations and engage in joint projects with members of our sixth form in drama, singing and creative writing. An extensive mentoring programme includes the teaching of Latin, Chinese, Science, Maths and EAL and the coaching of rugby and tennis on a weekly basis.  

Aims of the project

 

To raise attainment of pupils at the schools in the ISSP and extend the social and educational horizons of pupils at all the schools. To provide opportunities for CPD and improve management skills at all the schools. To extend the range of subjects on offer at the partner schools (eg Latin, Classical Civilisation and Chinese) and share our facilities.

 

Need: continuing improvement in results at the partner schools, developing quality of management and teaching at all schools, support for the partner schools' developing sixth forms.

 

Critical factors: Trust, mutual respect, clear communication, designated staff in charge of the partnership at both schools, termly reviews of the programme.

 

Beneficiaries: staff and pupils.

 

Background and goals

 

The Wimbledon ISSP was created in 2003 by Heather McKissack in response to the London Challenge. It has evolved and grown considerably over the last 12 years.

 

Resources

The full backing of school governors and the SMT. Designated staff members to oversee the CPD and other aspects of the partnership. Members of staff at all schools overseeing different projects. Timetabled time on Friday afternoons for projects involving pupils. The partnership is costly in terms of invisible expenditure, and a budget is required for extra teaching, transport and catering . The teaching of Latin GCSE at Coombe Girls' School is sponsored by a King’s parent.

 

Impact

GCSE and AS and AL results at the core schools in the partnership continue to improve. The partnership is mentioned favourably in Ofsted and ISI inspection reports. The seven core secondary schools are represented on the committee which reviews the work of the partnership every term. 

 

Pupil involvement

Hundreds of partner school pupils are affected by the work of the ISSP every year. King’s sixth-formers are involved either in mentoring subjects such as Latin, Chinese, Maths, Science and EAL or are engaged in joint projects with pupils of their own age in drama, singing and creative writing. Y11 & 12 pupils at the partner schools and King's schools assist with the aspirations debating sessions and our annual sports and arts projects for primary schools. 

 

Frequency and duration

Permanent, ongoing. Full governors’ meetings take place once a term as well meetings of governors' committees. Meetings of the core ISSP are termly and the middle management course once a year. GCSE revision weekly are in the spring term and mentoring by pupils takes place every Friday.