The York Independent State School Partnership (ISSP)

Partner: Millthorpe School, York
Partner type: Maintained School
Project category: Academic

There are 11 schools involved in the Partnership - 6 maintained schools, 2 Church of England academies and 3 independent schools. York ISSP started a programme of masterclasses 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. The annual master classes have therefore 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.

The three independent schools provide Latin GCSE to students from maintained schools where it is not on the curriculum; we have pooled our resources to offer History of Art AS level to students from all schools. In 2015 we ran our third summer school for Year 7 pupils, and in 2015 we will have 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. The website can be found at: www.yorkissp.org and you can follow us on twitter: @yorkissp.

Aims of the project

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.

Background and goals

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.

Pupil involvement

Through the different activities and projects, a variety of different ages are catered for from Year 7 summer schools to AS History of Art courses. Projects are open to all schools in the partnership.

Frequency and duration

The ISSP is an on-going project.