Schools partnership for mutual benefit

  • 24th January 2023

Sue Riley

The School Partnerships Alliance (SPA) today published its first report outlining how the state and independent sector can work together for mutual benefit.

The SPA is the membership organisation dedicated to researching, enabling and promoting meaningful partnerships between schools across the state and independent sectors for the benefit of children throughout the education system.

To help make this happen, the SPA is drawing upon expertise and resource from outside the world of education whenever possible, and to help it do this has teamed up with The Partnering Initiative (TPI). This is the first time TPI has delved into the world of education.

Today’s report ‘School partnerships for impact’ starts to build a common framework for how schools can become involved in a partnership or make an existing one even more powerful. It pieces together established best practice to develop a clear model to demystify how partnerships work for schools interested in these types of collaborations.

The report shows how partnering to tackle regional challenges achieves greater opportunities for all pupils than schools could do on their own.

There are also many examples of innovative school partnerships in the report, such as:

  • The shared STEM teacher recruitment between local primary, junior and senior state schools and Royal Grammar School, Newcastle (RGS)
  • Boosts to post-16 provision for Feltham College, based at Reach Academy, through local independent schools Hampton School and Lady Eleanor Holles School, and
  • York Independent State School Partnership’s work to build business and entrepreneurial skill in 40 Year 10 pupils from across the city.

Sue Riley, chief executive of the SPA said: “This, our first report since we were founded in 2021, marks the start of our working with the sector to be a force for school improvement and the strongest outcomes for all children, informed by research and driven by impact.

“We are also pleased to say our membership registration is now open. Members receive expert-led training to develop the key competencies of partnership staff; bespoke support to establish, improve, evaluate or scale up partnerships; access to an active, supported community of peers, whether through the exchange of ideas or the contribution towards improving partnerships at system level; and recognition for pursuing meaningful partnerships.

“Partnership staff can access our community meet-ups, partnership clinics and bespoke consultancy support and take part in a programme of live and recorded training. By engaging in these opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from across the sectors, staff learn how to maximise partnerships to be as effective, innovative and impactful as possible for every pupil.”

To find out more about school partnerships or membership, contact:

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