Increasingly schools are being encouraged to consider partnerships with other schools. This blog is intended to help schools make the best use of partnerships. First a word or two to justify partnerships among schools.
There is no doubt in my mind that in urban areas, schools which have made most progress, in the main, are ones which have not acted in isolation but have preferred to look outwards and learn from others. Certainly the success of the London and the Greater Manchester Challenges has been based on sharing the expertise and ideas already in the schools. This has been against an unhelpful backdrop of governments encouraging competition between schools by emphasising 'choice' 'diversity' and 'autonomy'.
In suburban and rural areas where there is a more settled pattern of primary to secondary pupil pathways, there have been partnerships combining primary and secondary schools, to improve transition and for other purposes.
And of course there are partnerships between secondary schools and post sixteen colleges.
With the cutbacks in expenditure which are already causing local authority services to be discontinued and which will shortly descend on schools, there will other reasons to work in partnerships.
So there are many sorts of partnerships. Often they are a pain in the neck because participants aren't clear from the outset what the rules of engagement are. So what follows is a short list of prompt questions designed to help partners make the bast of their relationships.
- What are the shared and agreed values and principles?
- Is there a statement of the overarching purpose of the partnership?
- What are the detailed purposes of the partnership (e.g.CPD, ICT development and facilities management, or before and after school provision for pupils)
- Who leads on the various agreed purposes and for how long?
- What are the agreed success criteria for each detailed purpose?
- When is progress to be reviewed and how?
- How is finance to be arranged for the partnership and how is the budget allocated?
- When and how far ahead are meetings scheduled?
- How within each participating partnership institution is the work of the partnership reported and are job descriptions clear about the responsibilities of various post-holders in the separate institutions for their work in the partnership?
- Who is the chair of the partnership and for how long?
- Who is the expediter / progress chaser?
It would be very helpful to have comments on things that help partnerships to work well.