Independent Schools Council, Celebrating Partnerships 2021

Page 1

Celebrating Partnerships 2021

Annual report of cross-sector partnership work between independent and state schools

Issue 6 November 2021

Contents Introduction


Partnerships and the Department for Education


Partnerships and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Independent Education


Summer school catch-up courses


Helping exam pupils achieve their goals


Early years support


Academic partnerships


Helping children facing disadvantage to thrive


Careers advice and higher education support


Tackling inactivity and sharing sports facilities


Bringing pupils together through music and the arts


Mental health and wellbeing support


Improving education through governance


Supporting teacher development


Regional partnership groups


Supporting communities throughout the pandemic


Widening access through life-transforming bursaries


Editors - Emily Roberts Editorial team - Ian Mason and Alicja Shannon

Celebrating Partnerships is published annually by the Independent Schools Council (ISC). The Independent Schools Council brings together seven associations and four affiliate associations to represent over 1,350 independent schools. These schools are amongst the best in the world and educate more than half-a-million children. Around half of UK independent schools are ISC schools and these educate around 80% of all independent school children. Independent schools save the taxpayer £3.5 billion a year from students not being in state education and contribute £13.7 billion to the economy.

Introduction Independent schools work in partnership with state schools to spread educational opportunity, widen access and promote civic duty. This activity has been established over many years and is central to our schools’ work. Partnerships benefit all involved, broadening our horizons and enabling new relationships to develop. This is especially important now as we collectively move forward from the worst of the COVID pandemic.

governance. A flourishing independent sector can build on these valuable projects - whereas punitive taxes would undermine this work. The ISC publishes this annual report on cross-sector partnerships in accordance with our Joint Understanding with the Department for Education. The Joint Understanding commits the Department and the ISC to encouraging partnership working commensurate with the capacity and capabilities of schools. We are pleased to continue to support this Joint Understanding, which has become more important as COVID has exacerbated the disadvantage gap.

You will find in these pages examples of a wide range of partnership working for the common good. Most independent schools are small, with just a few hundred pupils, yet the sector has ambitious aims to support the wider educational landscape and communities through partnership work. This can be through direct links between schools or by supporting existing schemes, charities, and clubs. All kinds of partnership projects can improve and spread opportunities for children and enhance training and development for teachers.

We have seen schools play a key role in supporting their communities during the pandemic and this report shows the range and value of collaborative work independent schools undertake, providing additional capacity and specialisms that support the broader education system and community. We look forward to another year of strong partnership working in 2022, for the benefit of all children.

It is important to note that proposals to further tax independent schools would damage the sector, making schools less accessible and undermining their ability to participate in these important initiatives. Partnerships support levelling up, enhance academic opportunity at all ages, improve teacher training, narrow the disadvantage gap, and strengthen careers advice and university applications. Schools working together also enhances sporting activities, unites pupils through the creative and performing arts, supports wellbeing, and improves

Julie Robinson Chief executive, Independent Schools Council


Partnerships and the Department for Education In the past two years, schools and students have faced their greatest challenge of recent years: education through a pandemic. Regardless of how difficult circumstances became, schools have risen to the challenge and navigated through the most testing of times. It is wonderful to learn that many cross-sector partnerships between independent and state-funded schools have actually developed during the pandemic. With so many other priorities competing for your urgent attention, thank you for your continued commitment to this work and for the benefits it brings to students, teachers and communities.

fact, we have seen a new wave of partnerships that have embraced the opportunities of virtual collaborations and on working together to solve common problems. Perhaps most importantly, what I have heard is a continued commitment from schools and sector leaders to do more of this work – not less. It is clear to me that there are a growing number of ambitious and aspirational partnerships leading the way across the country. Many of those are led and supported by people encouraged by the experiences of others. That is why publications such as this, and Partnerships Week more broadly, are so important.

As a relatively new education minister, I have already had the privilege of visiting some exceptional schools. My first official visit was to the South West and Bristol, where I visited schools involved in one of the country’s most prolific partnerships. I know that they are not alone, with many more such collaborations happening across the country.

It is also worth noting that this work has developed immensely over the past few years. Where once we spoke about sharing playing fields, today we talk about partnerships with real depth of purpose; partnerships that deliver lasting impact to the lives of pupils across our schools. We are seeing more and more partnerships that break down barriers between independent, state, faith, selective and all other types of schools. A few years ago, school leaders also used to ask why their schools needed partnerships. Today, we ask the contrary: why wouldn’t schools partner with others to deliver benefits for their staff and pupils? We are seeing a strong appetite – even

What I have heard so far on partnerships underlines their importance. The pandemic may have paused elements of this work temporarily, but many schools have, for the first time, discovered the benefits of working with others. In


through the pandemic – for partnerships and for deeper, more impactful collaborations. Long may this continue. Finally, I want to acknowledge that the success of this work is in large part due to the commitment of the ISC and the associations. This is evidence of the hard work you put in to making our Joint Understanding a reality. I also want to acknowledge the important work of the newly-formed School Partnerships Alliance, a charity that will play a vital role in bringing practitioners together to share their skills and knowledge. I leave you with this call to action to schools: give us your ideas and your proposals. We are ambitious about the types of partnerships that are possible. We are on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities. Publications such as this should play a vital role in bringing new ideas forward; I will be delighted to hear more from you as your partnerships develop across the country.

Baroness Barran MBE Parliamentary under secretary of state for the school system


Partnerships and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Independent Education The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Independent Education exists to discuss issues facing the sector and explore the wider contributions of independent schools. It brings together politicians from across the political spectrum to highlight positive working, debate current problems, and raise the profile of the work schools do. The ISC would like to thank all the officers of the Group for their hard work and kind support.

Independent-state school partnerships are such an important part of education. All schools want what is best for children, and partnerships let colleagues share expertise, resources, and capacity to the benefit of all. Partnerships like those aimed at supporting university entry and careers advice are so important for tackling disadvantage and spreading opportunity. Partnerships can play their role in tackling the educational effects of the pandemic, and I encourage all schools to get involved if they are not already. Well done to all those celebrated in this report!

“The sheer range of the partnerships Baroness between independent and state schools is Garden of Frognal awe-inspiring, as those highlighted in this report demonstrate. The schools engaged in partnerships have adapted their arrangements during the pandemic, with new “I have seen the great benefit of and exciting ways of working together emerging all the time in independent-state school partnerships. order to cope with - and grow together into - a time of continuing Independent and state schools both have uncertainty in the UK and worldwide. To my fellow MPs I say: much to gain from joint working, and I am Do go and visit schools who are forming and strengthening these pleased that schools have worked to adapt this mutually beneficial partnerships, you are certain of a warm during the pandemic. Be it sharing facilities, welcome. To all the schools working together I say: Thank you expertise, or in-class support partnership is often for what you do, working together to care for and nurture our an invaluable contribution to schools educating most precious national resource, our children and the most disadvantaged children – this is more young people.” important than ever. I encourage all schools to do more in partnership, and to carry on tackling Andrew Lewer MBE, chairman of the APPG the disadvantage gap.” on Independent Education and MP for Northampton South Lord Knight of Weymouth 4

Summer school catch-up courses To help support the education recovery effort, a number of schools organised bespoke summer courses this year, designed to help local pupils catch up on their learning and develop key skills. Alleyn’s School developed its first summer school programme, with the help of funds raised by the whole school community. The school reached out to eight partner primary schools, which helped to identify 44 families who would benefit most from the support. For five days, pupils in years 3 to 6 engaged in lessons covering subjects ranging from science and art to PSCHE and first aid. The pupils also enjoyed a breakfast and hot meal for lunch, and participated in sports activities each afternoon. Throughout the week, staff members at Alleyn’s Junior School helped to teach the lessons, while a number of Year 12 students volunteered their support. The week concluded with pupils performing a dance and several songs in front of their parents. Each child also received a rucksack full of school resources, as well as a family game and a WHSmith voucher to buy a book. In July, 200 Year 5 pupils attended the Whitgift Community Summer School, each enjoying a week of academic lessons and co-curricular activities, with food provided. Academic lessons covered the core subjects of English, maths and science, as well as art, history, economics, geography and philosophy. Pupils also participated in sport, coding, drama and fencing lessons, and each week concluded with a teambuilding afternoon. Sixth form students from Whitgift School and Old Palace of John Whitgift School volunteered as mentors, supporting pupils in their lessons and activities. This year, nearly 60 Year 10 students from 18 different schools were selected to attend the Eton Connect Summer School, a five-day residential programme hosted at Eton College. The pupils embarked on the EtonX Skills for Success course, which aims to help students understand themselves better, discover their strengths and values, and develop the resilience to keep going during challenging times. They also learned more about how to pitch themselves, the importance of employability, and how to pursue their dream futures.


“My child really enjoyed his week at Whitgift. He was happy to come every day, made new friends and especially liked the fencing activity. I really liked the structure of the day and the variety of subjects taught. For example, he has never learnt debating at primary school, but this was something taught in philosophy which is such a great skill for the future. Many thanks to all the staff involved!” A parent of a pupil who attended the Whitgift Community Summer School

Helping exam pupils achieve their goals Independent schools ensured the pandemic did not halt efforts to support exam year pupils beyond their own gates. Partnerships designed to support students with exam preparation and revision are well-established and many have moved online as a result of the pandemic limiting schools’ ability to host in-person workshops.

Arguably, one of the lesser-told stories resulting from exam disruption and the subsequent changes to assessment over the past two years is the impact on external candidates. Wotton House International School, in “The videos have allowed us Gloucester, helped external to support our students across candidates across the a broader range of subjects country as an accredited and have become an centre, enabling them to important tool for their achieve their qualifications independent learning. “ and move on to the next

City of London School (CLS) supports IntoUniversity, an education charity that inspires students from disadvantaged communities to broaden their horizons and achieve their full potential. Due to COVID restrictions, students at the school who act as mentors for GCSE-age pupils on the IntoUniversity programme organised a committee and working groups to create digital video tutorials on a range of topics, including subject specific mentoring and revision advice. CLS plans to offer a hybrid model in 2021-22 in which students have a choice to support in one or both of online content creation or faceto-face mentoring. CLS will also be expanding the support it can provide to IntoUniversity by collaborating with Year 12 students at City of London School for Girls.

stage of their education or IntoUniversity’s secondary FOCUS coordinator, career. The school supported a Liam Johnston range of home-schooled young people, including some with serious anxiety issues or long-term health problems. Teaching assistants at Wotton House acted as invigilators during supervised assessments over Zoom and the school asked for supporting information from tutors and other teachers in order to make a holistic grading judgement once it had collected all the evidence.

It was an extremely time-consuming process but some of the stories we heard were really heart-warming - of refugees needing GCSEs to obtain employment, children in care who had been victims of abuse, mature students, and Ghurkhas. Dr Daniel Sturdy, principal at Wotton House International School


Early years support Recognising the importance of early years education to a child’s overall development, schools have collaborated to provide valuable learning opportunities for young pupils during their formative years. During the nationwide closure of schools from January of this year, Norwich School reached out to some of its closest primary schools to identify ways they might be able to offer their support. Working with the assistant head of Magdalen Gates Primary, the school selected specific topics which Norwich School pupils and staff could produce resources for. Whilst learning remotely, sixth form pupils at Norwich School created several learning materials, covering aspects of history, physics, French and PSHE. These resources were then shared with Magdalen Gates Primary, along with approximately 50 other primary schools in Norfolk.

St Helen’s School, in Northwood, has focused on initiating, establishing and building relationships with local schools this year, working to expand educational opportunities in the context of COVID. As part of its outreach programme, members of the school community – including Year 12 students, who have received training from an EYFS specialist – have been going into selected local primary schools, providing support with phonics recognition and early language development. Bradford Grammar School welcomed more than 340 local primary schoolchildren for two weeks of science and space masterclasses during the month of July. The project was developed in partnership with Tim Rogers of Future Transformation, a STEM ambassador who sits on various technology boards across the Leeds City Region. Working in teams with the technology expert, the children had the opportunity to design their own satellites and learn about high-tech space industries located in Yorkshire. At the end of each session, the children built and launched their own water rockets.

“It’s inspiring to think that we might have lit a spark in the engineers and scientists of the future. The young people of our region have so much potential and we want to show them what they can achieve.” Tim Rogers of Future Transformation 7

Academic partnerships Academic partnerships are wide-ranging in nature and effectively demonstrate how collaboration between state and independent schools benefits all involved. Where possible, such partnerships moved online during the pandemic as schools took steps to continue these important educational opportunities and minimise learning loss. Abingdon School, in Oxfordshire, along with Radley College, John Mason School, Larkmead School and Fitzharrys School, developed an online coaching programme between lower sixth students and younger pupils, which saw Year 12 students taking part in four weeks of leadership training with the Oxfordshire Youth charity, followed by three weeks of coaching training by colleagues at Desborough College. Year 9 and 10 students were subsequently paired up with their lower sixth coaches – mainly from another school – and they embarked on a sixweek programme of weekly meetings via Zoom where academic targets were discussed. The success of the partnership – at the end of the programme, more than 85% of participants said they would recommend the project to a peer – has led to its continuation this year. ‘Thinking About’ is a joint project between Dulwich College and the Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership. Through a series of ‘beyond the curriculum’ live talks and discussions, young people from across the community engage with topics and themes that inspire, complement, and provide real life context to in-class learning. The partnership project’s webinar format has been particularly beneficial, as it has provided an alternative pathway for the more introverted pupils to get involved. Having heard from a diverse range of speakers - for example, Afrikan Boy talking about music, David Lammy MP discussing identity and Dr Adele Nasti speaking about engineering - schools and pupils have already been coming forward with ideas for future talks.


Building on existing workshops designed around learning recovery and curriculum engagement, Rugby School pupils have launched a series of homework and mentoring clubs to local primary schools. Pupils at the school had already developed and run workshops for more than 200 local primary school pupils in July 2021, including the ‘Veggie Olympics’ which looked at enzymes and catalysts in biology, and ‘Languages of the Ancient World’, taking pupils back to an altogether different time. Now, over 100 primary school pupils visit Rugby School each Wednesday afternoon, where they experience curriculum enhancement and catch-up sessions in mathematics, modern languages, art and design, indoor and outdoor sports as well as the sciences. In early 2022 capacity will be expanding further to include sessions in English and humanities subjects. Among the various academic partnerships Charterhouse takes part in, one project sees the Surrey-based school supporting talented young physicists at partner school Kensington Aldridge Academy. The ongoing initiative involves weekly lessons being delivered to sixth form pupils to enhance their knowledge and enjoyment of physics. Charterhouse has also run extended sessions in its labs, covering travel costs for the visiting pupils and staff. Through its SHiNE Together programme, Withington Girls’ School has been delivering Saturday morning education courses to local primary school pupils for 13 years. In 2021, 68 boys and girls in years 5 and 6 from nine Manchester maintained primary schools attended one of six online subject courses offered free of charge during the spring term, covering topics such as computing, creative writing and design technology. A survey assessing the impact of this year’s activity revealed that 95% of pupils said they had really enjoyed attending SHiNE Together and 98% of pupils said that being part of the programme had made them more confident in that subject.


Helping children facing disadvantage to thrive Twice a year, Berkhamsted School partners with Hertfordshire Virtual School to provide academic and pastoral support for looked after children in years 10, 11 and 12. The initiative was born during the pandemic, when the school offered to host looked after children during the holidays to help close the attainment gap and provide positive experiences for those involved. The programme has since been extended to offer careers advice and academic support focusing on English, maths and the sciences. The initiative also aims to help looked after children build their confidence and communication skills, while promoting their overall wellbeing.

Through various virtual and in-person initiatives, schools have committed to supporting the education recovery effort – particularly for the benefit of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. During the first national lockdown, Harrow School “I got my confidence back in launched Lumina Tutoring, school! Before I was really an initiative that aims to anxious, and today I’m talking provide online, subjecta lot and I’m less jumpy.” specific one-to-one A Year 6 pupil who took tutorial sessions for part in the Attain children and young people programme who are looked after. With the help of 50 teachers from four different schools, young people facing significant educational disadvantage can engage with enriching lessons across all subjects on a weekly basis, predominantly during term time. In the next academic year, Harrow is looking to expand this programme, working in partnership with several virtual schools in London to provide academic support to an increasing number of looked after children.

Emanuel School, situated in an inner-city London borough with high levels of deprivation, has created a programme designed to help close the attainment gap for pupils whose education has been most impacted by school closures during the pandemic. The Ascent programme, developed in collaboration with staff at partner schools, focuses on supporting Year 5 pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds who are failing to meet national standards in literacy and maths. Each Saturday morning during the summer term, 28 children from local


partner primary schools engage in lessons in maths and literacy, supplemented by interactive science workshops and co-curricular sessions covering drama, art and sport. Lessons are delivered by staff at Emanuel, with the help of a team of Emanuel and Westminster City School sixth form and Year 10 volunteers. The partnership is mutually beneficial; the younger children have the opportunity to catch up on vital learning they have missed, while the student volunteers develop their confidence, leadership, and organisational skills. Latymer Upper School launched its Attain programme in January 2021 to help Year 5 and 6 pupils in local primary schools who were identified by their teachers as having fallen furthest behind due to the pandemic disrupting their education. Each child who took part in the catch-up programme received up to 15 hours of support in maths and English from a dedicated tutor, with teachers coming not only from Latymer Upper and Latymer Prep School, but also from St Paul’s Girls’ School and St Paul’s School. The programme’s success has seen it expand to include "By spending time every week catch-up support for Year 10 students who are either with individual children, the in receipt of pupil premium or who meet an Epsom College students have helped equivalent indicator of low financial means. to develop their language, social and emotional skills, and enhance their The Epsom College Service Programme involves emotional wellbeing." sixth form volunteers from the College working Nicky Mann, co-headteacher with younger pupils to support their learning and at Wallace Fields Infants School development. It is a scheme designed to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds at various primary schools in the local area – Banstead Community Junior School, Woodmansterne Primary, The Vale, and Wallace Fields Infants School – reach a higher level of attainment. During the autumn term, students from Epsom College undertook three weeks of training, and were matched with pupils depending on their identified strengths. They assisted both individuals and groups of pupils with language development; worked on numeracy by playing board games; supported reading, science and craft activities; and developed the children’s social skills through play. The outreach programme has enabled the College to support the schools in closing the attainment gap for pupils facing disadvantage. 11

Careers advice and higher education support Many independent and state schools are working together to help prepare students for their next steps in life. These partnerships often take the form of joint university entrance initiatives but also involve working with younger pupils as part of academic enrichment or careers advice schemes. Kingston Grammar School and The Kingston Academy have come together to create the ‘Futures’ initiative, designed to provide inspirational university and careers education events to students in schools across the Royal Borough of Kingston. The joint venture aims to raise awareness of the different opportunities available and provide free and relevant advice from professionals currently working in competitive sectors. In 2021, events were delivered twice a term online, covering topics ranging from the Oxbridge application process to careers in the healthcare, virtual engineering and technology sectors. In the next academic year, the partner schools hope to be able to develop a series of parental advice and support webinars, while maintaining the current programme of online events. Among the 50 partnership projects that King’s College School, Wimbledon, is involved in (with more than 30 other schools), is its Senior Aspirations programme. This sees 240 students in years 9 to 11 from eight state secondary schools within the Wimbledon ISSP take part in academic workshops, attend theatre trips and benefit from university outreach days. Recent university linkups with King’s College London and Royal Holloway, University of London, have enabled the young people involved to meet current students, learn more about university life, and ask questions about the application process.

Feedback from the sessions suggests many pupils started to consider going to university, when they previously thought it was not an option for them. Should they choose to continue into higher education, the pupils involved in this partnership programme – all of whom are in receipt of pupil premium – would be first generation university scholars. The Wellington College Oxbridge Support Programme is designed to help hundreds of students from partner state schools increase their chances of successfully gaining a place at Oxford or Cambridge. The programme, which starts in Year 10, guides pupils through the admissions process until Year 13, where they can begin their applications. Students are offered dedicated and specialist advice in conjunction with workshops, mentoring and interview practice. Before the pandemic, hundreds of pupils were welcomed to the school to engage in talks and workshops, but in September 2020, the programme was successfully moved online, offering support to students and their parents virtually. In total, over 900 students and parents registered for online courses, and attendance increased by 100 per cent compared to in-person events in 2019. Truro High School for Girls runs an Aspiring Medics programme which provides budding young doctors and vets from nearby schools with a full course of lectures, workshops and mentoring ahead of their application to study in the medical or veterinary science professions. Pupils from Pool Academy and Truro School join Truro High students for weekly sessions as part of the programme, gaining access to external speakers and specialist teachers delivering workshops and lectures in the school’s laboratories. 12

“I have learnt that I can do more to affect my own future for the better.” A student who took part in the Senior Aspirations programme

“Just wanted to let you know I got offered a place at Trinity College at Oxford for studying law! Thank you ever so much for all your help and organizing the events. They really are incredible in guiding us through the admissions process.” A Year 13 student who took part in the Wellington College Oxbridge Support Programme


Tackling inactivity and sharing sports facilities scholars from the school take part as coaches. This summer, Wells Cathedral School has shared its swimming pool for family swim sessions, providing lifeguarding courses for senior pupils and recent leavers who are trained to cover these swim sessions alongside staff members.

Sporting partnerships are key to helping young people to get active, stay fit and healthy, and form new friendships, and these initiatives have become even more important in the wake of school closures and widespread disruption to education. Recognising this as a key priority, schools have stepped up to organise sporting events and activities, while others have shared their facilities with their wider communities.

In addition to supporting a number of local sports clubs and teams through sharing hockey, badminton, netball, fencing and athletics facilities, Badminton School has begun working with Bristol Penguin Olympic Swimming Club to help deliver a swim programme for children unable to swim 25m. With many children having missed out on valuable school and community swimming lessons due to the challenges presented by COVID, this partnership has already enabled many young people to go from nonswimmers to being able to swim 20m or 25m unaided within five lessons. And, those still unable to swim those distances after the course are offered free additional lessons.

In June of this year, Godolphin and Latymer School launched Step Up to Sport, a primary school partnership initiative designed to give local pupils the opportunity to try different sports. The scheme was established by two lower sixth students at the school, Millie and Jess, and is supported by a team of 18 student volunteers. As part of its inaugural event, 31 Year 5 pupils from West London Free School engaged in netball, cricket and football programmes.

The Bolton Sports Alliance finds solutions for local primary schools’ PE and sporting needs. It is a partnership between Bolton School (Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions), Bolton Wanderers FC Community Trust, the Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative, Bolton Lads and Girls Club and the University of Bolton. Its work includes coordinating schools’ entire PE programmes, delivering short courses in a range of sports and setting up in-school clubs focused on specific activities. The Alliance also coordinates some hugely popular mass participation events such as football festivals, and offers CPD for PE teachers.

Last autumn saw the renewal of Monkton Combe School’s rowing partnership with Combe Down Primary School. The programme, which takes place over the course of six weeks, gives 60 local Year 6 pupils the opportunity to experience rowing on the river Avon. Every week, groups of children are transported by minibus to the Monkton boathouse, where they participate in a rowing taster session. Trained staff members from Monkton Combe School lead the sessions, while two members of staff from Combe Down Primary accompany the pupils to supervise the visit. Wells Cathedral School shares its sporting facilities for local sporting tournaments, which involve pupils from partner primary schools. During these events, senior sports


“Sport to us is the most valuable thing we have been introduced to, and so we are passionate about sharing this love. We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the benefits and with the introduction of Step Up to Sport, we hope to inspire the next generation of athletes.” Millie, a co-founder of Step Up to Sport


Bringing pupils together through music and the arts Cross-sector partnerships involving music and the arts enable pupils to explore new talents and express themselves through creativity. While some of these partnerships were limited by coronavirus restrictions, many schools are starting to return to their pre-pandemic programme of events. During the last academic year, staff members at City of London Freemen’s School planned to offer music lessons for Year 4 pupils in local schools, culminating in a joint performance of all students in July. Unfortunately, COVID disruption prevented this project from taking place – and so a different approach was taken, leading to the creation of the Freemen’s Music Partnership. Each term, six pre-recorded lessons were shared with local and City partner schools, leading to an end-of-term digital performance from each school combined into one collaborative piece, produced by Freemen’s alumni Timothy Peters.

“The students from Eagles class really enjoyed the interactive dance session. They had great fun learning the new routines and putting it all together to create a final dance. They said it was a challenge, however the teacher broke it down in small chunks so they were able to achieve the final result.”

“A good musical education with singing at its heart should in my opinion be the birth-right of every child.” Cathy Lamb, Lichfield Cathedral director of MusicShare School works with Lichfield Cathedral and The Music Partnership to deliver MusicShare, a programme which aims to bring the joy of singing to thousands of children across the West Midlands. PreCOVID, the programme worked with around 150 schools per year, and despite the disruption, those involved are beginning to reclaim this work. MusicShare staff teach the children though a mixture of core projects and one-off workshops, culminating in a performance in front of family, friends and the local community. Young Singing Leaders, many of whom are choristers and former choristers, also visit schools to show other children what they can achieve if they work hard and rehearse regularly. During lockdown, MusicShare was able to create a large bank of resources, and delivered a number of sessions to schools online.

This year, Luckley House School invited pupils from four local prep and primary schools to its first ever virtual dance workshop. The event, which took place in April to mark International Dance Day, was led by Rachel Kempton, the school’s dance specialist. Pupils in years 5 and 6 came together to learn some street style choreography, which they then practised and performed as part of a routine in front of the other schools. This autumn, pupils in years 5 to 8 have been invited to another dance workshop as part of the school’s Masterclass Programme, and it is hoped that these events will continue to run every year, in person.

Emma Caswell, Year 5 teacher at Beechwood Primary School


Mental health and wellbeing support Over the past year, schools have amplified their commitment to improving the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils. A number of schools have developed this work into partnership programmes, ensuring more young people can access this valuable support. Malvern St James Girls’ School set up the Wellbeing Collective as an opportunity to meet with educational pastoral leads in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and to share good practice in student wellbeing and mental health. At the launch in 2019, eight local schools welcomed the opportunity to discuss their experiences. Just two years later, Malvern St James has received gold level accreditation from the Carnegie Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing, and involvement has grown to 24 educational establishments, representing both the state and independent sectors at prep and secondary school and higher education levels. The Wellbeing Collective provides invaluable links for those in charge of pupil welfare. Termly sessions feature an introductory talk focusing on one area of wellbeing, delivered by an expert in that field. Topics thus far have included self-harm, bereavement, community during coronavirus, working with families, building resilience and staff mental health and wellbeing.

renowned speaker Hayley Mulenda and Tulip Siddiq, local MP and shadow minister for children and early years. The event was free to attend online, with teachers tuning in from across the capital. As part of its ongoing efforts to be outward looking and community minded, Bradfield College has collaborated with Oppidan Education to develop EMBRACE, a peer mentoring programme. Year 12 students at the school are trained to provide weekly mentoring for Year 6 pupils at youth centres and local primary schools, with sessions focusing on pastoral topics including wellbeing, friendships, life hacks and organisation skills. The programme is mutually beneficial – it encourages the sixth form pupils to build their confidence and leadership skills, while helping the younger pupils to develop resilience.

This summer, University College School Hampstead launched The Conversation, an education conference planned and delivered by teachers from UCS, Westminster Academy, UCL Academy and the London Academy of Excellence, Stratford. The inaugural event focused on wellbeing and mental health, with staff from all four schools delivering seminars, workshops and talks on aspects of pastoral care. Talks were also delivered by


Improving education through governance wish to pursue an academic or vocational pathway. School governors and trustees provide strategic leadership Academic A-level courses will be supported by Hampton by determining the overall direction and development of a and LEH, while vocational qualifications in music, school. When staff from independent and state catering, and health and social care will be schools serve together on the same governing similarly supported through partnerships body, best practice can be shared for the “At Reach we are committed to with Kingston University and East benefit of all children and young people. providing an exceptional education Some larger independent schools have London Arts & Music Academy, for young people in Feltham and this even been able to help sponsor state Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals new college will add hugely to our schools, such as the London NHS Foundation Trust and awardcapabilities. We have a long-standing Academies of Excellence in Stratford winning London restauranteur and rich partnership with Hampton and and Tottenham. Jacob Kennedy. LEH and are excited to see this grow and flourish.” Hampton School and Lady Eleanor New Hall School in Essex lays claim Rebecca Cramer, Holles School (LEH) have recently to being the first independent school executive headteacher of in the country to sponsor a state primary partnered with Reach Academy – Reach Academy school. Messing Primary School officially along with leaders from the business and health sectors - to launch Feltham College, a became an academy in 2013 and through this partnership, its pupils have gained access to New ground-breaking post-16 model designed to offer Hall’s subject specialist teachers as well as facilities, valuable educational opportunities to young people in the including a 25m indoor swimming pool where children London Borough of Hounslow. Opening in September benefit from free swimming lessons. 2022, the college aims to ensure that local young people have access to the best in further education, whether they


Supporting teacher development school to host and run its own training and ongoing CPD in this area of expertise to all state and independent schools in the region.

Bringing teachers from state and independent schools together through partnership projects helps develop new and innovative approaches to classroom learning. Such initiatives provide valuable opportunities to share knowledge, resources, skills and expertise for the benefit of pupils and teachers alike. Well-established school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) initiatives involving independent schools include the National Modern Languages (NML) SCITT, set up by Silverdale School and Sheffield Hallam University, and the National Mathematics and Physics (NMAP) SCITT, run by Wycombe High School in conjunction with Headington School and the University of Buckingham. Not only do they help counter the teacher recruitment crisis but they are particularly important as part of efforts to tackle the need for new teachers in shortage subject areas.

“We are so touched that teachers in England are standing beside us. It helps us feel that we are not alone.” Rasha, a teacher who fled from Baghdad during the insurgency in Iraq where the education of millions has been severely disrupted by the last three decades of conflict

Some teacher training partnerships have an especially wide reach. Members of staff from Shrewsbury School have in recent years been working voluntarily with the Ankawa Foundation to support young Iraqi graduates in their quest to improve teaching in Iraq. This partnership (which moved online during the pandemic) takes the form of a summer school at which Shrewsbury teachers deliver bespoke mentoring to Iraqi teachers in PE, English, maths and art and design, as well as providing lectures and seminars in pedagogy and educational philosophy.

The range of partnerships that focus on teacher training opportunities is vast. In Newcastle, Royal Grammar School has become a recognised hub for training in Lego electronics. This is paving the way for the independent


Regional partnership groups

“We had a fantastic day at Caterham School, we tackled problem solving tasks and team building activities and enjoyed every second.” Rachael Nicholls, deputy head of Audley Primary School

Increasingly, schools are building bridges across larger areas to create city or region-wide partnerships. These groups, which bring together many different schools, share knowledge and experience to enhance educational opportunities for all pupils and staff involved.

programme of outdoor education for 280 pupils. Those involved took part in a programme of structured sport along with ‘Wildcats’ courses involving confidence building, teamwork and problem solving in the woods at Caterham School.

This year, Caterham School created the East Surrey Learning Partnership – a network with four primary schools and one other secondary school, all in the maintained sector. The schools meet regularly to shape collaboration and have already developed a number of innovative partnership projects. An online INSET programme was created, intended to help tackle the digital divide by increasing the knowledge and confidence of classroom practitioners to incorporate coding into their lessons. Caterham also delivered a twopart whole school INSET on cognitive load to Warlingham School, along with a session on memory and feedback to its primary partners. To compensate for Year 6 residential trips missed due to COVID, Caterham collaborated with its primary partners to deliver a

St Peter’s School, York works with several schools and organisations across the city as part of the York Independent State School Partnership (ISSP). Staff at St Peter’s moved their teaching online last summer, ensuring that their GCSE courses could continue for pupils across York. Pupils in years 7 and 8 also had the opportunity to engage with a number of online events, covering a range of topics including science and religion, archaeology and criminology. The ISSP’s popular Masterclasses programme, which takes places every year, continued virtually in March 2021, welcoming pupils in years 7 to 10 to a variety of classes over the course of three weeks. Each half term, pupils in years 8 and 9 came together for the ISSP’s Maths Excellence Club.


“East Kent Schools Together makes me happier and gives me things to look forward to.” Sheree, a Year 10 student at Herne Bay High School The Cheltenham Education Partnership is East Kent Schools Together (EKST) brings a partnership of secondary schools – from both together 10 schools and one university to explore the maintained and independent sectors – local shared aims of raising aspirations and widening horizons. organisations and charities. Despite the challenges of the This year, the group’s primary focus was to combat pandemic, the organisation has continued to grow, isolation and boost pupil wellbeing through a series of building upon various projects and outreach initiatives. connecting and enriching activities. Pupils had the Over the course of the past year, a number of staff opportunity to attend virtual Student Voice meetings, networks have been established, and several exhibitions, careers talks, yoga sessions, a Big Sing Club, and an art competitions, virtual concerts and webinars have been collaboration, among other events. Staff members have shared with industry experts. In collaboration with also benefitted from subject supporting partners and local businesses, the specific cluster meetings, "A professional #LaptopsForLearning scheme was launched, which aims wellbeing sessions and community like this, especially to provide children in Cheltenham with laptops, tablets pastoral training sessions. in education, is an invaluable or iPads to support their home learning. Though COVID resource for teachers and professionals restrictions prevented in-person events from taking place in this field." for much of the year, a number of cross-school activities and workshops were allowed to continue. The summer Melanie Judi-Sprinks, head of term marked the launch of #SpillTheTea, a pupil-led modern foreign languages and podcast series. careers at St Edmund's School, Canterbury


Supporting communities throughout the pandemic Year-round, independent schools collaborate with state schools, charities and organisations to make a positive difference in their local communities. Over the last year, these outreach projects have become even more invaluable, with schools providing muchneeded support to those most affected by the pandemic.

Throughout August 2021, The King’s School in Gloucester worked in partnership with several charities and local organisations to deliver the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, an initiative inspired by footballer Marcus Rashford and funded by the Department for Education. With each vulnerable person we As part of the scheme, the school offered its kitchen and transport to their COVID jab, we are catering equipment, helping to provide over 10,000 reminded that there are unique healthy meals for families across Gloucestershire. The and personal stories involved. programme also offered enriching activities for children throughout the summer, encouraging them to get Remco Weeda, director of marketing active and use their creativity. and admissions and houseparent at Scarborough College As the only independent school in the region, Scarborough College plays an important role in Scarborough and its neighbouring communities. Earlier this year, members of staff and volunteers at the school committed their time and resources to support the COVID vaccination effort. The school’s minibuses, which were idle at the time, were used to assist the elderly and the vulnerable in getting to and from their appointments. The first trip, organised by Age UK, took place in February 2021. As demand grew, staff volunteers at the school carried out up to five to 10 trips a day, supporting over one hundred members of the local community.

During the pandemic, Reigate Grammar School launched the #RGSWeCare campaign, which saw students, parents and staff members providing support for NHS and 22

key workers as well as the wider community. In partnership with both local and national charities and organisations, the school has donated hundreds of items of school uniform to families in need, delivered thousands of meals to help combat holiday hunger, carried out a number of foodbank collections and run minibuses to take local residents over the age of 80 to vaccination appointments. Pupils of all ages at ACS International Schools are encouraged to think about how they can help others through charitable initiatives. Over the past 18 months, they have helped raise funds for 100,000 meals for children facing food insecurities and more than £85,000 for charities such as Mind, Movember, Cancer Support and international projects in Namibia and Nepal. ACS, which has schools in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, also made respirator masks for key workers, donated 300 laptops to partner schools, and worked with industry partners to produce virtual content to support teachers, parents and students with distance learning, as well as peer tutoring sessions.

£10.5m Was raised for charities at ISC schools and 828 schools organised volunteering opportunities for staff and/or pupils. ISC Census 2021


Widening access through life-transforming bursaries The independent sector is committed to providing valuable educational opportunities to greater numbers of children and young people. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, many schools have extended their bursary provision. Last year alone, independent schools provided £455 million of meanstested fee assistance – an increase of £15 million from the previous year. Christ’s Hospital provides free or substantially reduced cost places to more than 630 of its 900 pupils, amounting to over £18 million each year. The school’s commitment to its core goal of social responsibility enhances pupils’ understanding of and appreciation for diversity, enabling the school to make a difference in the local community as well as further afield. Earlier this year, the Government announced that Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation (RNCSF) – the UK’s largest bursary charity – would provide a national brokerage service to secure fully-funded bursary places for vulnerable young people at “For a lot of people in my neighbourhood, both boarding and independent day schools. the opportunities I have received at Christ’s The charity has a long history of supporting Hospital (CH) would be simply unattainable in ordinary schools and local authorities to facilitate circumstances. Growing up in London, I am well aware of boarding-only places for looked after the lack of opportunity for a lot of children just like myself, children and those on the edge of care, through no fault of their own. Had it not been for CH, so this development was welcomed as I would never have had the chance to discover my passion an opportunity to give greater numbers for rugby or my deep interest in politics, as the resources of young people facing disadvantage needed to cultivate these interests are unfortunately access to transformative educational unavailable to a large number of children. CH has experiences. This expansion to RNCSF’s opened doors of opportunity to me that beforehand remit also included the launch of I did not even know existed.” SpringForward – a programme to support Sam Odu, a second-year student at Cambridge independent schools to better target their University who joined Christ’s Hospital outreach activities – across academic and when he was 11. extracurricular activities, for the benefit of careexperienced and vulnerable children for whom a bursary place might not be available. 24

Schools Together showcases more than 5,800 cross-sector partnerships. Tens of thousands of pupils benefit from partnerships between independent schools and state schools every year. Partnerships include careers advice and higher education support, reading with younger pupils, subject specialist teaching, sharing facilities and seconding teaching staff. Through partnerships, schools work together to unlock new educational experiences for pupils and teachers. Celebrating and encouraging partnership projects Schools have been engaged in partnerships for many years. The main motivation is a desire to collaborate with other schools in the local community for mutual benefit. The Schools Together website demonstrates the excellent work that is already going on and helps and inspires more schools to get involved. Schools can register to add partnerships: Contact:

Constituent Associations Girls’ Schools Association, Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference Independent Association of Prep Schools, Independent Schools Association The Society of Heads, Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools The Independent Schools’ Bursars Association Affiliated Associations Boarding Schools’ Association, Council of British International Schools Scottish Council of Independent Schools, Welsh Independent Schools Council Independent Schools Council First Floor, 27 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9BU 020 7766 7070 Celebrating and encouraging partnership projects Schools have been engaged in partnerships for many years. The main motivation is a desire to collaborate with other schools in the local community for mutual benefit. The Schools Together website demonstrates the excellent work that is already going on and helps and inspires more schools to get involved. A Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England and Wales No. 1103760