Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Research into what makes successful partnerships

ASCL is embarking on a major research project into what creates successful partnerships between schools and colleges. The association has secured two grants totalling £70,000, from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and IT supplier RM, to fund the project.

The current policy context - especially with the advent of the new 14-19 diplomas - means that schools, and schools and colleges, will increasingly work together. This may be for specific purposes, such as offering a broader range of courses for 14-plus students, or it may be to raise standards overall, especially where one or more of the schools is underperforming.

It is essential that schools and colleges are able to build on lessons learned elsewhere. In particular, it is important that they are able to establish the link between partnership work and raising achievement, without which ASCL members would understandably be reluctant to commit to the work of setting up the partnership.

The aim of ASCL's project is to establish a framework for effective partnership working and identify the factors that will enable partnerships to link their joint activities to improved outcomes.

Overseeing the project is ASCL consultant Robert Hill, who led on the highly successful Leadership that Lasts project in 2006, which was influential in the outcome of the PricewaterhouseCooper's report on school leadership.

The project report, out later this year, will form the basis of ASCL's discussions with the DfES, Treasury and Number 10 in regards federations, 14-19 partnerships, behaviour improvement partnerships and education improvement partnerships - all of which have appeared in recent DfES policy announcements. 

ASCL will also use the project findings to influence the government's policy on raising achievement and improving schools deemed to be under-performing.

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