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Initiative highlights benefits of partnerships between independent and state schools

15/09/2017 Joanna

Creating more partnerships between the independent and state school sectors could be the key to enhancing educational outcomes and offering more high-quality school places.

This is according to education secretary Justine Greening, who called for educators to pursue more collaborative opportunities at the recent Celebrating Partnerships event hosted by the Independent Schools Council.

The Department for Education has partnered with the organisation to offer greater support for joint working that draws on the experience and the expertise of independent schools to enhance school leadership, teacher training, curriculum support, school improvement and sponsorship.

Thousands of existing partnerships are already in place to offer academic, sporting or musical support, which are estimated to benefit around 10,000 state schools and 175,000 pupils, with the Department for Education's recently forming a dedicated System Partnership Unit to support independent schools in brokering partnerships and managing relationships with the state sector.

A new leaflet is also being distributed to offer further guidance in setting up or expanding existing partnerships, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that all organisations within the education sector are working towards the common goal of breaking down barriers to social mobility.

Ms Greening said: "We want to continue to harness the resources and expertise of leading independent schools through more partnership activities, sponsorships or setting up new free schools, so more young people have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to fulfil their potential."

This follows a recent report from the National Foundation for Educational Research indicating that many of England's underperforming state schools have the potential to receive greater support and improve their standards through school-to-school partnerships in their local area.

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