Cross-sector and Community Partnership working in Scotland's independent schools

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Together for Pupils Together Societyfor




Independent schools in Scotland want every learner in the country to have the opportunity to benefit from partnership opportunities forged between independent and state schools.

Independent schools have joined forces successfully with many local authority schools across Scotland, working together in the interests of young people and generating enormous benefits for pupils and staff in both sectors and the communities in which they are based.

Currently more than 100,000 people who are not enrolled in an independent school are accessing a range of opportunities from studying for qualifications and getting advice on University applications to enjoying the health and social benefits which come from regular use of the sporting facilities which are on offer.

Almost a third of independent schools in Scotland care for pupils with complex needs which cannot be met within the state sector. Our specialist schools contribute a huge amount to the communities in which they are based and some also receive partnership support through volunteering and fund-raising initiatives from their neighbouring feepaying independent schools.

Most independent schools were created to meet the educational needs of the times in which they were founded, were usually inclusive in their intentions, and many which were in receipt of government grant aid operated as a full part of the state sector until the grant was withdrawn in the 1970s.

More recently, Scotland’s independent schools have been subject to the “charity test” administered by OSCR

under powers conferred in the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. To comply with the law, Scotland’s independent schools must be exclusively charitable; they cannot operate for profit and must demonstrate they are providing a public benefit.

Independent schools in Scotland dedicate more than £33.1 million a year towards rigorously means tested fee assistance – an amount which has tripled since the charity test measured it.

The scale and range of innovative partnership initiatives being developed between the independent and state sector is growing all the time, providing even more benefit to young people and society as a whole.

Despite the lack of a formal Scotland wide mechanism for independent and state schools to come together

identify and deliver partnerships, more and more Head Teachers are coming together to develop the initiatives they think will best support the young people in their communities.

This report highlights some of the public benefit, our partnership working with schools and communities across Scotland is delivering and the value of the sector as part of Scotland’s wider educational system.

However, there is much more the sector could do, and would like to do in future ….


Quality partnerships and their benefits

Even the most straightforward and low-key educational partnerships can bring huge benefits to many. For example, the pupils of a small state primary school who gain the opportunity to learn to swim because they access a swimming pool at a local independent school. Or students from nearby fee-paying independent schools providing valuable volunteering support at East Park School, a specialist independent school in Glasgow’s Maryhill, which has supported children from all over Scotland with autism and complex learning disabilities to record exam success.

The majority of independent schools in Scotland are relatively small, with a roll of 400 pupils or fewer and some schools have fewer than 30 pupils. The scale of the partnership work schools undertake can be limited due to their size and resource. However, there is no limit on the scale of their ambition to contribute to their communities, therefore many schools deliver far more for their local area

Call to Action

than any legal test would ever expect.

Significant personal gains can accrue not just to thousands of state school pupils each year who take part in partnership initiatives but also to pupils in the independent sector and staff in both sectors.

Building bridges and mutual respect between the sectors –enabling school communities to engage in new discussions and gain new perspectives as they share resources and knowledge – can lead to exciting classroom and extracurricular provision.

It can bring pupils together in a positive and often innovative learning context that breeds greater confidence and understanding, and enables teachers and support staff to benefit from high-quality continuing professional development and the sharing of expertise across our sectors.

SCIS schools are undertaking a wide variety of partnership projects delivering real benefits to thousands of pupils in Scotland, and we want to do more.

Education systems the world over are facing a range of challenges. If we share our expertise and resources across the independent, state and third sectors we will be able to achieve so much more for learners in Scotland. SCIS would welcome more public debate on how best to make that happen.



George Watson’s College, Edinburgh

Life-changing partnerships range from delivering the teaching of Mandarin in Edinburgh and Glasgow and sharing Higher and Advanced Higher classes with local authority students who cannot access certain subjects at their local school, to the provision of stateof-the-art sporting facilities for entire communities to use.

George Watson’s College has also been the lynchpin in the delivery of the Swire Chinese Language Centre Edinburgh which works in over 20 state schools in Edinburgh and East

Lothian and accounts for some 30% of all Chinese language qualifications gained by pupils in Scotland.

One success of the scheme was the way that teachers formerly employed by George Watson’s moved to be employed by local authorities once the critical mass of pupils learning Mandarin Chinese reached the level which made the subject sustainable in the schools.

The impact of the project will, therefore, be felt long after the ten-

year project closes in 2026. Some of the greatest successes have been in schools serving communities in Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 1 and 2 areas.

One of those schools now has a curriculum lead in modern languages who transferred from George Watson’s as part of the scheme, and the pupils of two of those schools have benefited from visits to China entirely funded and organised by the centre.

David Dempster, Headteacher at Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh describes the partnership with George Watson’s College “an incredibly positive and productive experience”. He said: “We have been able to share our ideas and our resources to allow the teaching of Mandarin to develop in a way it never could have, had we tried it alone. The financial support of John Swire & Sons to develop Mandarin would have been difficult to process if it were not for our partnership with our independent school partner, GWC. The partnership working of independent and state schools provides huge benefits to both sectors and is something that most definitely should be encouraged across the education sector.”

“My son’s study of Chinese through the SWIRE programme put him in a good position to continue studying Chinese at University. This programme opened up a whole new world of language, culture, history and art for him, that otherwise would not have been accessible.” Parent of Edinburgh state school pupil


The Logan Review, which was set up to explore how Scotland’s technology sector can contribute to the country’s economic recovery following the Covid pandemic, highlighted a serious shortage of computing teachers. To help address this the Edinburgh Computer Science and Engineering in Schools (ECSES) scheme, was launched by George Watson’s College along with partner state schools and has been funded to the tune of over £300,000.

One of its many partnerships is with the city council’s Castlebrae Community Campus where staff and pupils work closely together, including on the Roots Programme, which brings together young people and teachers from state and independent schools across class, cultural, racial and religious divides, breaking down barriers in pursuit of a more connected, curious and compassionate society. Together, they will tackle prejudice, build connection and belonging, discover confidence and pride in their backgrounds, and further develop critical thinking and communication skills.

Norma Prentice, Headteacher at Castlebrae Community Campus, said: “Our partnership with George Watson’s College on the Roots Programme over the last 6 years has been so reciprocally beneficial for both schools. We continually add more multi-faceted areas to our joint working with the aim of benefiting the learners across both communities. From staff working in both schools to pupils participating together in concerts, Castlebrae Community Campus pupils attending classes at George Watson’s College and participating in competitions together. The opportunities are vast and continue to expand."

Dollar Academy, Clackmannanshire

More than 75,000 learners have been supported through highly innovative work taking place at Dollar Academy in Clackmannanshire. The school has developed the Futures Institute (FIDA), in partnership with 50 state schools and more than 600 pupils. It established a free to-all learning platform to tackle three challenges: the need to find a compelling alternative to traditional classroom teaching and exams; equitable access to education; and sustainability.

It enables pupils to work with industry and university experts to better understand, and design solutions for, some of the world’s most complex challenges, from climate change and housing energy efficiency to poverty and social injustice.

Young people get involved in a variety of ways, with a core offering of 17 global challenges: one for each of the


UN Sustainable Development Goals. The programme encourages students to apply critical thinking and creative problem solving to tackle real-world issues.

The first five challenges are freely available via the website and take 3-8 hours to complete. They range from ‘Zero Hunger’, which sees Masterchef finalist Jilly McCord help children create a new recipe based on local, sustainably produced food, through to ‘Future Plastic’, where pupils make their own bioplastic at home and design a novel packaging solution that could help reduce plastic waste.

A recent ‘Home Transformers Challenge’ on the Dollar campus led to 35 pupils across five schools working together with Barratt homebuilders to transform an older property, making it more sustainable through green energy and smart technologies.

In addition to receiving a certificate upon completion, students who submit promising work have the chance to gain internships, work experience and participation in mentoring programmes. In an effort to further reduce the attainment gap in Scottish education, FIDA also offers free online SQA courses, helping pupils

who cannot access these courses via their own schools.

It started by offering Higher Politics (over 90% of those who took the qualification achieved A grades in this shortage subject), Higher Geography and National 5 Economics.

FIDA also staged a programme of online sustainability summits, beginning with a partnership with Sustainable Fashion Week and a UK education and sustainability leadership summit, which provided free resources for teachers.

The Future Institute (FIDA) offers free courses and challenges for young people at 50 state schools to help build a sustainable future with impressive results...


Hutchesons’ Grammar School, Glasgow

Every member of the Glasgow community in which Hutchesons’ Grammar school is based has the opportunity to use the school's indoor and outdoor facilities to take part in sport and physical activity sessions in the evenings and at weekends, all year round.

The school's facilities at Pollok Park (H@ PP) and at Beaton Road are a designated Sportscotland Community Sports Hub.

The hubs aim to support and empower local people to improve sport and physical activities in communities across Scotland.

The Hutchesons’ facilities are popular and highly valued in the local area with almost 40 local clubs, which is a combined membership of more than

35,000, and organisations using them on a regular basis, as well as individual members of the public. The facilities are also used by local state schools for their Annual Sports Day and for primary into secondary transition days. Hutchesons’ guidance staff also offer advice and support to local young people who want to study competitive courses at University including medicine and dentistry. The school has a strong track record of success with Oxbridge applications and staff offer any young person in the area planning to apply to Oxbridge to join their application advice sessions.

As the top provider of Silver DofE awards in Scotland, pupils spend almost 3,000 hours volunteering in a wide range of settings in the local community with

The Glasgow Academy

Following advances in digital learning established during the Covid pandemic, teachers at The Glasgow Academy launched a long-term project to enhance online provision in secondary education.

The aim was to enrich the school’s digital provision and support all of Scotland’s young people, helping address serious inequities in access to online learning at a time of national crisis. Essentially, bringing Scotland’s best teachers from lots of schools to the phones and tablets of every young person in the country.

They collaborated with expert filmmakers, re-trained and upskilled, worked with communications coaches, and applied advanced principles of cognitive science to create “thinkfour”. Within months of launching, this social impact initiative was supporting thousands of young people in Scotland in their learning via Education Scotland’s GLOW and NeLO platforms.

The initiative won the 2022 TES Award for Best Use of Technology and is the subject of various academic research projects focused on unpacking impact.

Since Spring 2022, thinkfour has been working on a commercial basis with leading global institutions in digital education, providing a sustainable funding model for thinkfour to continue to provide free educational support in Scotland.

Thinkfour is open access and free to use. There is no paywall, no advertising and no data harvesting. The charity Gen+, which delivers education on transferable skills that empower people to face new challenges and succeed in any area of learning, work

an estimated social value in the area of £14,000. In addition, pupils taking part in volunteer tutor activities in their free time to support children and young people in the west of Scotland with their learning and homework.

The school also campaigns to raise awareness of childhood cancer and through its links with Cure Leukaemia and Doing It For Daniel, two charities that work to support children with cancer. Parents at the School raised tens of thousands of pounds at the inaugural ‘Liv 4 Daniel 13 for 13’ fundraising weekend held during Childhood Cancer Awareness month in memory of a pupil at the school who tragically died from cancer and another pupil who was treated for leukaemia.

and life, also enlisted the expertise of staff from "thinkfour" and the academy. Staff produced captivating introductory videos which appear at the start of lessons in the Gen+ Learn course to convey key learning concepts and are now being screened to over 20,000 S1- S3 pupils across Scotland.

The Young STEM Leader Programme (YSLP) is an exciting new award which aims to spark increased interest and participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, increasingly in demand from employers, with young people trained to inspire, lead and mentor peers through the delivery of STEM activities within their schools, communities or youth groups. The Glasgow Academy is the first UK all-through independent school to become a Young STEM Leader delivering centre, with many staff now recognised as YSLP tutor assessors. It has hosted many STEM events for children from all over


Glasgow, including a recent session for over 150 pupils from state schools.

The academy has developed a primary school mental health ambassadors award in partnership with wellbeing consultancy The Exchange, helping train pupils at local schools. In addition, it has hosted training for the Diana Award in

anti-bullying, allowing over 200 pupils to return to their schools as trained antibullying ambassadors.

A socially conscious, innovative and global outlook has led the academy to build an early years facility in Noida, Delhi and, through another partnership with Nehru World School in Ghaziabad,

Fettes College, Edinburgh

The Fettes College values of Aim high, Give back, guide the school’s approach to Sustainability and Social Impact and are at the heart of an established partnership programme with state schools and Charities across Scotland.

Examples of this include higher education and career support with 160 S5 State School students attending an annual Careers Exploration Day to gain tangible and tailored advice for their future. Subject specialists from Fettes mentor several external State School Oxbridge candidates. In addition, last year 120+ students from Craigmount HS, Leith Academy, Queensferry HS, Boroughmuir HS, James Gillespie's and Drummond Community HS joined the Fettes Science Society lectures and were invited to participate in the Sandy Gunn Aerospace Careers Programme giving them the opportunity to explore and engage with university academics and their scientific subjects of interest.

Fettes has ambitious plans to expand this programme online, at the forefront of which is a ground-breaking lecture series led by UN climate change expert Martin Lees entitled ‘This Will Be Your World’. This is being delivered in-person to Fettes students this year and the online resource will be open to all students in Scotland supporting them to make a positive impact on their world.

Every student at Fettes Colleges is actively involved in volunteering and fundraising activities which are well embedded in the school year. The school has long-standing relationships with many charities and the school’s staff are given time to actively participate in driving them forward.

Examples of these projects include:

• Fettes is actively involved in ‘Opportutoring’. ‘Opportutoring’, is the service option of teaching English to refugees online, developed by Old Fettesians.

Fettes is also heavily involved in Edinburgh’s SuperTroop charity, set up to provide free of charge residential breaks and respite care for children with physical and learning disabilities. In addition, through the young person’s mental health charity Place2Be, Fettes students work with local primary school pupils as supportive, positive role models.

Fettes has a special relationship with the FetLor Youth Club, offering children and young people in the North of Edinburgh a safe place to develop their resilience and confidence, achieve their potential and enjoy a healthy meal in times of real need. Up

Delhi, over 20 members of staff who have visited the academy for cultural and educational exchanges have undertaken experiential training from its early years teams in Glasgow over the past five years. The academy is also in talks with Glasgow Clyde College to partner in forest schools training.

to 300 young people are welcomed to the club each week, and all activities and food are free of charge. The club and college share college assets and resources, with young people from both working together on projects, including gardening and FetLor renovations, climbing wall instructor lessons, use of the Fettes low ropes leadership training course and mentoring. The college currently supports the provision of 50-100 hot meals per day, three days each week.


St George’s, Edinburgh

St George's runs a Community Engagement programme which enables local clubs, groups and charities to use a range of their facilities 7 days a week and throughout the holidays at a reduced or zero cost. This programme directly serves over 40 groups, benefitting thousands of youths and adults. In the past year, they have had just under 700 community bookings and hosted their first summer holiday residential programme.

The school has four active partnerships with Netball Scotland, Lacrosse Scotland, Badminton Scotland and Edinburgh Judo. These partnerships aim to elevate the profile of women’s and girls' participation in sport and workforce development while fostering sporting growth in the community. Through their partnership with Netball Scotland, one of the many events they hosted was the Netball Scotland Walking Netball workshop with the Scottish Government Minister for Equalities & Older People with participants from the local community.

Netball Scotland’s former CEO, Claire Nelson: “One of the main reasons why we are excited to work with St George’s school is because how passionate and authentic they are about opening the doors and creating accessible opportunities. The connections … created across multiple sports have created so many opportunities for people to try, develop, build confidence and empowerment in sport. ”

Hamilton College

Hamilton College host regular academic focus days where more than a hundred and twenty local primary and secondary school pupils have joined the school to engage in activities including Science and Language Workshops and a Maths Fun Day. The sessions are aimed at raising attainment through young people coming together and taking part in fun challenges.

As part of their Nursery and Early Years programme, Hamilton College host a free weekly Toddlers Group which is popular with local parents and carers who enjoy coming together in a nurturing environment. Junior school pupils undertake litter picking and bus shelter tidying as part of the school's community connectors programme.

The school has also forged a highly successful performing arts partnership with local charitable groups. Groups which have joined and enriched Hamilton College productions include a local care home and the Ups & Downs Theatre Group, a charity which supports those who have Down's syndrome and their siblings.

Other examples include themed weeks, such as Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week, where they invited local Primary schools to attend PE and sporting activities within the school day.

Additionally, St George’s supports teacher development. Their popular Practitioner Research Seminars provide free continuing education to regional teachers.

Hamilton College is committed to continuing to create and nurture partnerships, sharing and developing strong family, school, and community involvement. Working with those on the frontlines of these partnerships, following their values contributing to local, national, and international communities.


St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow

Social outreach is a fundamental part of life at St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow, as well as the overall mission of Jesuit education – “Talents and gifts are to be developed for the good of the human community…Today our prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others…There are opportunities in Jesuit education for actual contact with the world of injustice.”


“The St Aloysius’ College Arrupe volunteers work very successfully with our Scotland Reads paired reading programme” – Primary School Head Teacher, Glasgow City.

“We are delighted to hear the programme is returning. Our Day Opportunities Project continues to provide support and activities for multicultural older people. We have been planning new activities on Wednesdays including art and signing activities with afternoon teas and peer support for our family carers group and it is great to work collaboratively with your young people to design an interesting and engaging programme.” Community Centre Manager, Glasgow Southside.

Established in 2006, the St Aloysius’ College Arrupe Programme was the first of its kind in the UK and is now a model for other Jesuit schools in Britain and worldwide. Named after Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, the programme aims to exemplify the Jesuit philosophy of “creating men and women for and with others”.

Each year, approximately 50 Senior School pupils from S5 and S6 sign up for placements within the community. This year, the College partnered with twelve different organisations, including nurseries, primary schools, schools for young people with ASN, day centres for the elderly, care homes, and foodbanks in and around Glasgow. The young people devote an afternoon of their time each week to volunteer at these placements, working within com-munities from a range of different backgrounds.

“Staff have very positive comments on the Arrupe programme. We have a wide range of children from different backgrounds - mainly Arabic and Indian families, but some Ukrainian and African asylum seekers too who will be involved in the programme” Nursery Head Teacher, Glasgow City

“Participating in Arrupe requires you to be ready for anything, from playing Uno to baking a cake! Volunteering therefore, needs to be approached with an open mind and willingness to do whatever is asked of you.” Pupil, St Aloysius’ College


Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen

RGC Online is a ground-breaking education programme developed by Robert Gordon’s Col-lege to support the future growth of the Scottish tech ecosystem and to respond to “a major talent shortage” in the industry identified by the Logan Review which was carried out for the Scottish government. Championing a collaborative approach from within its global alumni network, Robert Gordon’s College has worked alongside tech industry experts and academic leaders from Robert Gordon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to develop the online, live-taught programme, which offers SQA-accredited Higher Computing Science and Higher Applications of Mathematics – including for students who cannot access the subjects at their local school.

At least one in five students taking part are on fullyfunded scholarships. RGC Online also offers tech-focused modules, designed to equip young people with the skills required for fu-ture roles in tech, including: artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning, cyber security, game design and entrepreneurship. A quantum computing module is in develop-ment and will be launched later this year. Live online lessons are taught twice weekly, with students completing work through the Google Classroom Environment and receiving regular one-to-one support and personalised feedback from their teachers. Teaching is held on the same days each week and scheduled for early evenings to ensure it does not clash with stu-dents’ studies at their local school. The first cohort achieved 100% A/B pass rate in August 2023. In 2024, RGC Online announced its collaboration with ABZ

Campus, providing second-ary school pupils in Aberdeen with broader access to a suite of diverse courses closely linked to growth sector industries.

Robert Gordon’s College partners with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where visiting students work with RGC staff and pupils on innovative educational pro-grammes to which local state school pupils are also invited.

Robert Gordon’s College offers other schools the opportunity to attend outreach activities and events on their campus and regularly also host professional learning events, like re-searchED Conferences.

External community groups make use of the halls, lecture theatres, drama theatre, swim-ming pool and classroom facilities at Robert Gordon’s College. Countesswells Sports Fields, the home of RGC Sport, is host to many external sports groups who make use of the exten-sive facilities, benefiting children and university students across the North East region. Rob-ert Gordon’s College sees Countesswells as a sports hub not just for RGC, but also for whole region. The aim is for this hub to gain national significance, as a centre of coach education and research, supporting the work of national governing bodies across Scotland. A signifi-cant recent development was a new partnership agreement with RGU, to enable university sport to be played at Countesswells. This saw various RGU teams playing BUCS (British Uni-versities and Colleges Sport) fixtures, and further discussions were held to take this partner-ship forward with a view to extending access to Countesswells to other community stake-holders.


Gordonstoun, Moray

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is the world's leading youth achievement award, incorporating physical activities, volunteering and expeditions to build confidence and resilience among young people in over 140 countries. Its roots can be traced to Gordonstoun, where Prince Philip studied and was awarded its

forerunner, the Moray Badge. The badge was recently relaunched, involving about 12,000 fully-funded children from 50 local schools, organisations and children who are home schooled, encouraging them to challenge themselves, get active and reconnect with nature following periods of lockdown.

Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow

Kelvinside Academy hosts a weekly North African Saturday School with over 300 children and families benefiting from regular academic and cultural studies and social connection in its classrooms and social spaces throughout the year. It offers Advanced Higher courses free of charge to pupils from local authority schools, and runs an annual ethics conference for pupils studying Higher and Advanced Higher RMSP, attended by over 200 pupils from state

schools throughout Scotland. All S6 students engage in voluntary service as part of the school’s Minerva Award Scheme and a significant number of these students are affiliated with the Voluntary Tutors Organisation. The VTO is dedicated to promoting education, operating learning hubs in areas of multiple deprivation, providing support to primary school children facing difficulties engaging with learning. Each pupil volunteers for a minimum of an hour every

Craigclowan School, Perth

Gordonstoun is the only school in the UK where students are volunteer firefighters (pictured above) and attend incidents in the community as part of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. They also volunteer to help the Coastguard, conservation services and clean local beaches.

week, dedicating their time to assist students at two local primary schools, including helping students with homework and engaging in educational games that enhance core literacy and numeracy skills. Among many sporting partnerships, PE teaching staff work with two local primary schools, delivering free rugby and hockey coaching sessions and annual, inclusive athletics fixtures with three local state primary schools on its Balgray Sports Campus.

Since September 2017, Craigclowan has been running a free-of-charge toddler group for local parents. Parents and often grandparents bring their toddlers along to Craigclowan to take part in a fun activity for children aged from approximately 18 months to three years whilst adults enjoy a cup of tea and the chance to chat to other parents in what has become a valuable community facility.


The High School of Glasgow

All S6 pupils at the High School are required to undertake some form of voluntary service, tracked through the Saltire Award Scheme. Of these, one third are involved with the Voluntary Tutors Organisation, an educational charity which runs learning hubs in areas of multiple deprivation to support primary school children with difficulties engaging with learning. Pupils give an hour each week to these hubs, to build positive mentoring relationships with participants, helping with homework

and playing educational games that build core literacy and numeracy skills. The benefits have been substantiated by recent surveys reporting improved numeracy for 94% of children using the hubs, while better attitudes to learning in school have been reported by 82%.

The High School relationship with VTO is growing, enabling the charity to open an additional hub in Possilpark. Three hubs are currently fully staffed by High School of Glasgow pupils, and this may grow further in future.

Advanced Higher courses are offered free of charge to pupils from local authority schools when required

The High School of Glasgow has also partnered with Jordanhill School, as the Swire Chinese Language Centre for Glasgow, and has employed a full-time teacher to contribute to local primary schools.

Morrison’s Academy, Crieff

Morrison's Academy runs large-scale partnership events, including a STEM festival for children aged ten to fourteen in conjunction with the SmartSTEMS charity. Last year more than three hundred people from across central Scotland benefited from the workshops and events. Morrison's Academy's partnership with SmartSTEMS also delivers STEM workshops to a number of Perth and Kinross schools in the Strathearn area.

The school organised the inaugural Scottish School's Mountain Bike Championships, bringing three hundred competitors from forty state and independent schools from across Scotland to Crieff for the largest under 18 cycling event in Scotland of 2023. The event was recognised by Scottish Cycling as Event of the year.

It provided a valuable opportunity for young established racers to compete against peers and encouraged novice riders to get involved with the sport.

Morrison's Academy’s facilities are widely used by local clubs and charitable organisations for activities. The school offers free weekly chanter lessons for local primary pupils, supports local young carers with camps activities, and offers local state school pupils a range of sporting activities including rugby, hockey and climbing. The school is currently organising an enterprise programme and competition for upper primary pupils in the area, including a hundred Perth and Kinross Council pupils.


St Columba’s, Kilmacolm

St Columba’s School is very much part of the community of Kilmacolm, the village in which the school is based. It aims to make a lasting, positive impact in the wider community by leveraging relationships with local organisations to create opportunities for young people regardless of where they attend school.

Intergenerational Programme

The school’s award-winning Intergenerational Programme, run in partnership with Campbell Snowdon House, a residential care home in the neighbouring Quarriers Village, has myriad reciprocal benefits.

Playing, being active and learning from one another promotes empathy, respect and a broader perspective in young learners and brings happiness and a sense of purpose to the senior participants.

Campbell Snowden residents have reported positive changes in their sense of wellbeing since the partnership was initiated, including an elevated mood and improved mobility.

The partnership was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in the Generations Working Together Awards in March 2023 for a collaborative intergenerational music project.


The purpose of #TalkaGoodGame is to destigmatise mental health amongst young men by raising awareness of some of the negative factors impacting on their mental health while offering positive role models and support.

Nine schools from the state and independent sectors came together for the first of what the school plans to make an annual event.

More than 150 boys attended the event to take part in sport, attend a series of workshops and hear inspirational talks by high-profile profile speakers. These included Andy McLaren, a former professional footballer who spoke about drugs and gambling, a presentation delivered by on behalf of Reece McEwan, a professional MMA fighter about bullying and resilience and Jordan

The Compass School, Haddington

Pupils volunteer throughout the year to work in the East Lothian Community Kitchen garden, which reduces isolation and loneliness by bringing people together to eat nutritious home-cooked food around a large table and by arranging fun activities - and work in the Amisfield Walled Garden which serves to aid the health, well-being and education of the local community.

The Compass school works closely with Scottish Rugby and Haddington Rugby Club to widen participation in the sport across the local community. Together the school and the club jointly employ a Rugby Development Manager, a post which is making the sport more accessible for those in the local area. The Compass school is firmly committed to supporting local authority sports facilities and spends between £30,000 and £40,000 each year on using local facilities and generating income for East Lothian Council which it then re-invests in maintaining and developing local sports facilities.

Daly, a high-profile campaigner who co-founded the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) charity who spoke about sexuality and homophobic language. The event also signposted invaluable support resources.

The boys who attended said they were inspired by the speakers, and some said they now feel empowered to talk about their mental health.

A similar event for girls is also planned this academic year, in partnership with Scottish Hockey.


Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools, Edinburgh

As a Microsoft Showcase School, ESMS recently ran an event to help break down the barriers preventing schools across Scotland from introducing Edtech solutions to improve learning outcomes. A definitive guide is now being published to support school leaders.

The sport departments are heavily invested in supporting the community, recently partnered with The Well HQ to run a Sport in her Shoes event for

local PE teachers, coaches, young athletes and parents to help improve participation and performance among young women in sport. ESMS also works with Stewart’s Melville FP Rugby Club (SMRFC) to provide inclusive sport activity sessions and events for children and young adults with learning and physical disabilities, in Edinburgh and beyond. Its ‘Leadership through Sport’ programme has led to over 70 students being trained on how to plan and lead inclusive, fun

St Mary's School, Melrose

In 2011 St. Mary’s School in Melrose hosted the first ‘Bang Goes the Borders’ (BGTB) festival with the aim of bringing a range of STEM workshops to young people from across the Borders. The inaugural event saw representatives from Senior Schools, Colleges and Universities provide workshops, talks and hands-on activities to engage the minds of young people.

Twelve years later, they are delighted that the event continues to inspire youngsters and their parents, and the benefits to the local community are significant. Thanks to generous sponsorship BGTB remains completely free to attend and therefore accessible to all. We actively encourage College

and University students to gain experience in public engagement through the event, as well as school pupils, under the watchful eye of their teachers. National organisations such as the RSPB and RNLI are represented alongside local organisations such as Bright Green Nature, the Tweed Foundation and the Trimontium Trust.

As the event has grown, so too have the breadth of opportunities on offer and we are proud to host a number of workshops that help to deliver a strong environmental message. Alongside this there are inspiring opportunities to learn about the science of technology, animals, fitness, history and the arts to name a few.

and adaptable multisport activities, appropriate for people with learning disabilities, hearing and visual impairments and physical disabilities. There are many other partnerships on the pitch while, off it, music teachers provide lessons for Ukrainian children each weekend and host a Nicola Benedetti Foundation workshop to support local primary schools and string players in the community.

Engaging the services of local catering outlets has also seen the event support local businesses and, with a footfall of approximately 1000 guests at each event, there is undoubtedly an increased influx of visitors supporting trade in the town throughout the day.

“Congratulations to you and your team for organising a such a marvellous event; we thoroughly enjoyed being part of it. It must take a huge amount of effort to organise but to see the wide eyed-expression of the children, and adults, as they engaged with the exhibitors makes it all worthwhile”, event participant.


St Margaret's School, Aberdeen

St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen is committed to promoting careers where women have been and continue to be under-represented. The school run events which promote careers in STEM. Working with local universities and companies, it invites pupils from schools across the north east and beyond to attend such events.

Online series such as Inspirational Women webinars and Fearless Women events are also extended to young people across Scotland. In 2023, sponsored by Apache and in partnership with Techfest with a focus on physics, the school worked with local primary schools to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science. In 2024 St Margaret’s will be offering a similar event for local primary schools with a focus on computing science.

St Margaret’s School have also been delighted to host The Anatomy Lab, which takes students inside all of the main anatomical structures to see, touch and feel real organ specimens. Hundreds of young people from across Scotland have benefited on the occasions they have hosted this experience.

Also in the field of medicine, they work in partnership with local state schools to provide mini multiple inter-view practice for young people who are making an application for medicine.

Their Climate Cafes bring together pupils from nearby schools to hear from inspirational speakers and to share common goals for the future of the planet.

St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh

St Mary's Music School is committed to fostering musical excellence and community engagement through a range of outreach initiatives. The School’s masterclass programme, exemplified by events like the Lower Brass Days taking place in February 2024 in Elgin and Edinburgh, serves as a platform for young musicians to receive expert guidance from renowned artists, including industry leaders such as Arlene Macfarlane and Jonathan Gawn. Additionally, their accompanying composition competition for Lower Brass not only encourages creative expression within the school curriculum but also showcases the talent emerging from pupils all over Scotland.

In collaboration with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the SCO String and Wind Academies provide intensive training, enriching the musical education of participants and allows for peer to peer mentorship opportunities. Moreover, the St Mary’s Music School Instrument Library initiative ensures that aspiring musicians, regardless of financial constraints, have access to quality instruments, thereby democratising the pursuit of musical proficiency. These initiatives underscore the School’s dedication to nurturing talent, fostering inclusivity and contributing positively to the cultural fabric of our community.


High School of Dundee

A 3-day event titled “Careers Taking Off”, held at High School of Dundee’s Mayfield Sports Centre, welcomed over 500 secondary school pupils from across Angus and Dundee to think about a career within aerospace, aviation, and engineering.

The event, organised by Developing the Young Workforce Tay Cities (DYW Tay Cities), gave the young people the chance to take part in a range of interactive workshops run by eight organisations within the aerospace, aviation & engineering sectors from across Scotland.

Workshop activities included spacecraft technology, engineering the perfect paper aeroplane, learning about the world of space, testing out an infa red detector, fixing small components of an aircraft and much more! Whilst participating in the workshops, pupils also had the opportunity to engage with staff from each organisation to ask

questions about their respective industry.

Morgan McLeod, Employer Liaison Officer with DYW Tay Cities, said, “We couldn’t have run this event without the help of all the organisations involved and the team at The High School of Dundee for facilitating us to use Mayfield Sports Centre. We hope that this is just the beginning of a budding relationship between Developing the Young Workforce Tay Cities and The High School of Dundee, so we can inspire more young people across Tay Cities.”

The High School of Dundee was delighted to welcome around 120 pupils from the city’s secondary schools to join just under 50 of its own young musicians for a joint Wind/Brass/Percussion day.

The event saw the pupils rehearse Ozzy Osborne's “Crazy Train”, Neil Diamond's

“Sweet Caroline”, Mark Lortz's “Aspire”, and Lin-Manuel Miranda's “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the film “Encanto”, before video recording a fantastic performance together.

Director of Music, Lionel Steuart Fothringham and Phil McGregor, Education Support Officer for Music at Dundee City Council, said, “This has been a wonderful opportunity to bring together 170 pupils and music staff from across Dundee to share in the excitement of making music.

“As very recent national events have demonstrated, music has the power to unite us all, and the pupils have enjoyed making new friends among their fellow musicians. This is the first such event we’ve had at the High School for a long time, and we hope it will be one of many in the years ahead.”

Glenalmond College, Perthshire

Making a difference in the world is a call to action at Glenalmond College and this starts with the local community.

The school works with a number of local primary schools, hosting Outdoor Learning sessions and providing access to its specialist facilities including its science labs and creative arts and sports departments.

The school shares staff expertise, facilities and provides bus transport to local schools and groups to help them access the campus. For example, Glenalmond has a long-standing relationship with the 7th Perthshire Scouts and Beavers who use their facilities on a regular basis.

Pupils at the school regularly volunteer Every Wednesday and Thursday during

term time, a dedicated group of our pupils volunteer with young people at S.H.I.P. - Support, Help and Integration in Perthshire, a charity which supports young people in the local community who have Additional Support Needs

and large numbers of people from the community join the school for Christmas and Easter services in its chapel.


Kilgraston, Perthshire

Kilgraston has had a partnership with the Glenfarg branch of Riding For The Disabled since 2017. This sees members of the charity attend weekly riding

sessions in the school, using the school’s trained horses, staff and facilities with extensive hacking opportunities.

Loretto School,Musselburgh

Following the sudden closure of Musselburgh’s much-loved Brunton Theatre in March 2023, local councillor Andy Forrest praised the school for “coming to the rescue” by making its own theatre available for local dance, drama

and music groups and professional productions. The school is also the first independent school to support Hibernian FC’s charitable arm, Hibernian Community Foundation, by providing facilities for its holiday camps.

Pat Scotland, Riding For The Disabled Co-Ordinator Glenfarg Branch said: “Since 2017, we have been delighted to have a partnership with Kilgraston School. A great many people have benefited from Riding For The Disabled in the Perthshire area thanks to this partnership and there are enormous benefits to participants. We all know the benefits of fresh air and exercise and to many this is taken for granted so it makes it is particularly meaningful to our participants. The equestrian team, and the Kilgraston horses are second to none, they are well looked after, and look after our group and the Kilgraston staff are welcoming and experienced. We consider ourselves so lucky to have this ongoing partnership.”

HCF chair Mags McPherson said:

“Using the power and passion of football to change lives in our community is our aim and this partnership with Loretto is helping us achieve just that.”


Albyn School, Aberdeen

The Bridge Programme is a transformative partnership programme with a nearby primary school. This initiative, launched in 2024, provides Primary 6 pupils from disadvantaged areas of the city with an academic enrichment programme that develops essential skills for learning, life, and work. The Bridge Programme provides a valuable link between state and private school pupils and staff in the area.

More than 1,400 pupils aged between eight and eighteen from primary and secondary schools across the northeast of Scotland take part in the Open Cross-Country Championships which the school organises annually at Balgownie Playing Fields in Aberdeen. Children from many state schools also access an annual Primary Schools Maths Challenge, hosted by the school.

Albyn School creates opportunities for valuable cross-sector professional development and networking. Under the auspices of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the School has run a number of 'Call Me a Chemist' sessions for teachers from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

This initiative inspires primary school teachers to deliver fun science lessons in their classrooms

and provides participants with comprehensive resources and materials to use in their own schools. Cross-sector hubs for professional learning and networking have now been established in Computing, Support for Learning, and PE & Sport.

Albyn School extends invitations to local state primary and secondary schools to take part in its INSET programme. Dozens of state school colleagues recently attended training by Craig Barton, Teacher and Creator of mrbartonmaths. com, alongside Albyn staff. Albyn School’s is also offering training, in collaboration with the Royal

Shakespeare Company, to colleagues in the state sector.

Headteacher said: “Albyn School's commitment to fostering collaboration between state and independent schools in Aberdeen is part of our educational mission. The events and initiatives we run exemplify our dedication to creating a supportive ecosystem where teachers can share expertise, resources, and inspiration. We believe that by working together we can enhance the quality of education for all pupils in the region.”

Belmont House School, Glasgow

Belmont House School is committed to community engagement through a variety of channels.

The School has a close relationship with the local authority Learning Disability Garden Tidy Team, enabling our Junior School pupils to work collaboratively with young adults with learning disabilities in a practical context.

Junior 6 pupils make weekly visits to a local care home, engaging and interacting with the residents through conversation, games and musical performances.

The School’s facilities are also used by local community sports groups and a local faith group.


Lathallan, Montrose

Lathallan pupils set up and run the Pipers’ coffee shop, a social enterprise focused on giving back to the local community and supporting charitable causes. It has donated tens of thousands of pounds since it was set up.

George Heriots School, Edinburgh

Inspiration over 400 years: the legacy of Philanthropy.

When George Heriot wrote his Will in 1623, he chose to leave his wealth to found a school for the ‘poor bairns’ of Edinburgh and gave his family motto too: I distribute chearfullie. In doing so, Heriot set in place a legacy of philanthropy which has continued for 400 years.

George Heriot Trust is amongst the earliest surviving trusts in Scotland, a model for later institutions such as Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen, Hutcheson’s Hospital in Glasgow and Cowan’s Hospital in Stirling. Heriot’s was set up by a man who, from humble beginnings, became one of the richest men in the court of St James V1.

Since it opened, his school has educated more than 5,700 children who have lost a parent; the Foundationers. The school specialises in bereavement support and today has over 54 pupils studying free under its Foundation.

Heriot’s has a history of helping refugees, triggered by the joining of 27 Serbian Refugees between 1916-1919. Since that time, both Syrian and Ukrainian children have studied at Heriot’s; and today, the Ukrainian St Margaret’s School accesses Heriot’s every Saturday for its Ukrainian pupils aged 5-17 years old to study.

A Volunteer Language Ambassador programme sees pupils act as advocates for modern languages, going into local state primary schools to act as language assistants to support young learners.

Pupils from neighbouring state schools also join Heriot’s for bespoke learning opportunities in Careers (Oxbridge entry), Politics, and Psychology, and for Highers and Advanced Highers when certain subjects are not available in their own school.

The School also runs periodic conferences in Bereavement support and recently welcomed nineteen state school teachers on site to benefit from the school’s learning.

Pupils from Heriot’s and the neighbouring James Gillespie’s state High School worked together as a successful team in the F1 in Schools competition, creating the fastest miniature car, winning regional finals for Scotland, and top five status in the UK National Finals, and competing with 40 countries in the Schools’ World Final.

Belhaven Hill School, Dunbar

Belhaven Hill School hosts, a STEM Roadshow in partnership with Imperial College, London. The initiative creates a valuable opportunity for local primary school children to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics opportunities collaboratively. The school is committed to sharing access to interesting guests who visit the school, and was delighted to be joined by more than 300 local primary school children for a visit by the renowned author Michael Morpurgo who engaged the audience with his inspiring 'Tales from Shakespeare.’

Belhaven Hill provides venues for a diverse array of local community groups, including Dunbar Choral, Dunbar Sea Cadets, Dunbar Cricket Club, and Dunbar Colts, who utilise the Sports Hall for their P1 and P2 footballers. The school collaborates with all the churches in Dunbar, actively participating in community improvement projects at the Community Hospital and churchyards.


The Edinburgh Academy

The Edinburgh Academy serves as a testing centre for Oxford University candidates, from across the central belt participating in the Oxford tests. Additionally, the school extends support to pupils from nine state schools.

The school is actively involved in sports development, providing outreach coaching in rugby and hockey to primary schools and local rugby clubs.

A library has been established in a Borders school through a book collection, facilitated by the expertise

of the Junior school librarian. Senior School pupils contribute to weekly reading support sessions in a local Primary School.

The Biology Department collaborates with Drummond High School, conducting DNA Profiling workshops as an outreach project. Pupils engage in hands-on activities, exploring and comparing their versions of a bitter taste receptor gene using their own DNA.

Musical partnerships thrive through joint productions between The Edinburgh Academy and local primary

Wellington School, Ayr

schools. Additionally, Polish language schools collaborate during weekends at Edinburgh Academy.

Partnerships extend to Inverleith Hockey Club, Stagecoach, Edinburgh Reelers, and Youth Philanthropy Initiative, which is delivered annually in partnership with The Wood Foundation. These collaborations showcase The Edinburgh Academy's commitment to community engagement and diverse educational experiences.

Wellington school offer Advanced Highers to pupils at local schools that are not available - most commonly Business Management and Accounting. Any approach is considered on its merits, however, and last year they supported a girl who had left a local school (after S6) and wanted to resit Advanced Higher Chemistry in order to be able to apply to study Vet Medicine.

In addition to hosting a local Debating competition, Wellington has also provided an after-school Debating and Public Speaking course that has been well attended by pupils from Sout Ayrshire schools. This has been a formal course delivered in part by university students who participate in Debating at a high level.

Wellington also play rugby in partnership with Ayr Rugby Club.

St Leonards, St Andrews

St Leonards School is based in St Andrews which is famous the world over as the home of golf. The School hosts a number of events as part of its commitment to making sport accessible to as many children and young people in the local community as possible; regular football and rugby tournaments are organised with local schools. St Leonards has also organised swimming lessons for local primary school pupils and is working

to ensure its sporting partnerships are accessible by offering transport to local schools. In addition to the annual Techno Challenge event for local children, pupils from thirty-five state primary schools in the local area have been invited to take part in the School’s academic enrichment programme, which has a focus on STEM. The School is hosting its first Model United Nations conference this year, and has invited many

local schools to participate, and has produced a website on this subject making free resources available to teachers and pupils.

Sharing playing fields and resources, the school fields a rugby team, the St Leonards-Madras Blues, working in partnership with a local state secondary school and rugby club –helping young people grow through sporting opportunities.


Strathallan School, Perthshire

Strathallan School has a long tradition of working with and in the local community around Perth. Significant support and fundraising for local charities and their projects in the community, notably CATH, the Perth based Church action for the Homeless, and the Inspiration Orchestra, a local music charity for disabled musicians.

Music and theatre work has been supported in recent years in four local primary schools and the neighbouring primary school in Forgandenny has regular access to school facilities and opportunities on campus. Access to the school’s facilities has been a regular feature of support for children and young people’s activities, notably while Perth’s Bell Sports Centre has been out of action due to flooding.

Access to the school’s facilities on a not-for-profit basis for local clubs has been a regular feature too for activities in rugby, dance, swimming, canoeing, netball, hockey, football, cricket, tennis as well as free introduction lesson in ballet in the school’s specialised dance

studio. This has allowed hundreds of children and young people and their coaches to benefit from the school’s facilities on a regular basis.

Volunteering is a major activity in the school through the Duke of Edinburgh Award, the John Muir Award Scheme and through the school’s Army, Navy and Royal Marines sections of its Combined Cadet Force (CCF); local environmental projects have been supported through this, including a presentation to the main forum at

COP28, one of only eight schools worldwide to be invited to present (COP29 has already invited the school back)!

Opportunities have been provided for local cadets and Sea Scouts through the school’s CCF and the school is teaming up with two local senior schools to increase these opportunities for young people in Perth, alongside a mutually beneficial educational partnership with a senior school in Perth, due to begin later this year.

This report highlights just some of the partnership work which is benefiting thousands of pupils throughout Scotland. The sector would welcome greater public debate on how Scotland can maximise the potential for greater partnership work to support even more learners in Scotland.


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Tel: +44 (0)131 556 2316

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