11 June 2021

School partnerships have faced numerous challenges in the last year, yet teachers and students have continued to work and adapt with resilience and creativity to ensure that partnership events and activities continue. Since joining the partnership team in November I have been astounded by the diversity of activities and continued persistence and relationship building to ensure school partnerships remain strong.

Over the past five years, Abingdon School in Partnership has gone from strength to strength, working with primary and secondary schools in the area. Building on these relationships, the time has come to create a more formal, mutually beneficial and impactful partnership for the young people, staff and parents of our local area. The UK government highly recommends these sustainable, formalised partnerships and it is an area of real growth. Schools are working together to ensure better outcomes for all, realising that collaboration really is the key to success.

Meeting with the school leaders from John Mason, Fitzharrys, Radley, Larkmead and St Helen’s gave a real view of the key priorities for each school. The next task was discussing how a collaborative, partnership approach could help deliver those priorities as well as supporting further partnership aims. Common themes were those of raising aspirations, widening opportunities and reciprocity. This term has seen further strategic discussions which have led us to a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the details of the partnership as well as giving us real clarity of our core aims.

The core aims for the partnership will be:

  • INSPIRE: To provide opportunities for aspiration and challenge though widening horizons for all stakeholders.
  • CHALLENGE: Use extra-curricular activities to develop character, promote cultural engagement and support civic pride.
  • SUPPORT: Support the mental health and wellbeing of students, staff and parents using a whole partnership approach.

These are shown on our poster.

It was felt that these aims are relevant to the schools involved and the ‘post’ Covid world we are living in. The partnership will be named the OX14 Learning Partnership to reflect the location of the six schools.

Looking ahead, we hope to launch the partnership early next academic year with a full events and activities planner and commitment from all of the schools. A student voice committee will also play a large part in the development of the partnership, not only in the planning and running of events but also as an opportunity for students to have their views heard and collaborate with students from across the partnership.

A partnership with clear aims and commitment from all involved can achieve great things, most of all a sense of belonging and sustainability in a world where young people have faced a period of great challenge and change. We look forward to sharing further information with you about partnership events soon.

Jessica Burns, Partnership Coordinator

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