Published on: 10 Nov 2017

What is there to gain from partnerships?

By Dee Currier, GL Assessment’s Training Operations Manager

Professional partnerships have been forming for an age - and there are many good reasons why.

 Some partnerships provide money saving opportunities or other kinds of mutual benefit. Others, meanwhile, are based purely on a school or organisation’s values and mission; the organisation doesn’t necessarily become part of the action, but they support the end goal. Many partnerships are a mixture of all of the above.

While there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach, if all parties are on board, wonderful benefits can be achieved. So how can we approach partnerships within education?

 Growth and development

 With limited funding and even more limited time, teachers are put under continuous pressure to achieve with very little resources. Partnering with a local school or joining a MAT could open doors to share best practice and even provide the opportunity for progression when teachers are encouraged to transfer to a partner school or move into a senior leadership role.

 There are many great examples of how this can work effectively. To take just one - Paul Smith, the CEO of Future Academies, has established a CPD programme that operates across his schools. “Creating sustainability within a growing MAT would not be possible without attracting and retaining the best teachers,” he explains. “Careful planning is required to engage the teachers of the future - no-one should need to leave for lack of opportunity or CPD when there is a family of schools.”

 This is a priority for the DfE, too, as within MATs they hold sponsors accountable for providing expertise and capacity to drive improvement in performance, with Lord Agnew seemingly on board with effective collaboration, too. Speaking recently at the North Academies Conference he said, “By working together we can achieve so much more. And ultimately, this helps every young person to realise their full potential.”

 A network of support - a place to innovate safely

 I often recognise why my friends are my friends. We built a friendship through similar interests, complementary strengths and being a sounding board for my best and worst ideas (and theirs). With the latter often being the one I value the most, it’s no wonder to me that schools come together with similar establishments to learn from their challenges and success, and also look to practitioners with different experience for objective opinions and fresh ideas.

 There are a range of fledgling and more established networks we can all look to, and Whole Education is one to consider. It’s a national network committed to facilitating shared learning, innovation and collaboration across the country. They don’t just partner with schools but also with strategic organisations who provide a huge platform to share ideas in a safe environment. No-one can know everything so it’s important to know there’s somewhere to go to find credibility and expertise.

 A louder voice - reach more people with your mission

 At GL Assessment, we want to support children around the world by giving teachers access to good assessment data that will better inform and impact a pupil’s individual learning journey.

 We partner with a variety of schools to support this through our Assessment Excellence Programme. Some of our partner schools provide us with a training venue – this allows us to train in and offer support to schools in many different parts of the country that we couldn’t reach before. Importantly, it also means that their school teachers and senior leaders can share access to quality training which they may not have otherwise been able to afford.

Many of our partners are experienced practitioners with a voice that is heard and respected at local, regional and national levels, but of course, each one is on an individual journey. The experience they each have may be different but the ultimate goal is the same; to improve education for our children through making better informed decisions. We are extremely proud to be working with them.

 If you are interested in knowing more about our Excellence Programme, please visit our website or contact