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Case study

The Schools Partnership Programme

England

The Schools Partnership Programme (SPP) is a cluster-based approach to school improvement, developed by schools, for schools. We are currently working with over 500 schools in England.

The programme, which was launched in 2014, develops a culture of partnership working through school self-evaluation, peer review and school-to-school support. It also fosters research and innovation in line with best practice research and the latest Government White Paper and its commitment to 'supported autonomy' (June 2016).

Our approach

SPP is a peer review model that builds capacity and capability across clusters so they can gradually take more responsibility for their own development and maturity, and lead their own improvement. Over time local areas will own the SPP model, and continue to develop it so it has impact locally. SPP provides frameworks and tools, training and professional support, and is designed to incorporate and build on, not side line, schools’ existing best practice.

All schools are affiliated to Education Development Trust, giving them direct access to our portfolio of global activities, including our research. For example, in February of this year, SPP schools were invited to a ‘Global Dialogue event’, which bought together leading educationalists from Canada, New Zealand and Australia, to debate the challenges and opportunities brought about by cluster based school improvement. A follow up event will be held in November of this year.

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"I am tremendously excited for our team to join forces with the group at Education Development Trust's Schools Partnership Programme. SPP is exactly the approach that represents the next phase in deep school and network learning in education. Leveraging peer knowledge and expertise is the hidden gem in the transformation of education."

Michael Fullan, international education expert

Our impact

SPP schools are reporting that being part of the programme has helped to drive change in their schools by enabling them to raise the profile of school improvement. They are embedding peer review into their planning cycles and including it in performance management systems.

Schools feel that although they worked well together as a cluster already, SPP and peer review has helped them make their conversations more focused and turn them into action.

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"Our experience of SPP as a collaboration has been extremely powerful. It has been a great privilege to have unlimited access in each other's classrooms and we have been able to shine a light into all aspects of our schools."

Helen Barker, Head of KYRA Teaching Schools Alliance, Lincolnshire

"The SPP approach and materials have provided an excellent framework for developing and supporting some of the key lead schools' work within the Plymouth Teaching School Alliance. What’s great about the SPP is that you can put together a bespoke peer review that is right for you and driven by your school improvement needs, rather than Ofsted's."

Simon Spry, Executive Headteacher, Prince Rock Primary School

"The workshop was very powerful. It involved a range of staff from across the school, and people felt very privileged to be involved. It shone a light on certain staff who may have been overlooked. As it went so well, we decided to use the same approach in a staff meeting and will also use this format to further explore issues as an inset day."

Karen Gregg, Headteacher, Hempshill Primary School, Nottinghamshire

"An enormous amount of trust is generated through the process. That doesn't mean that it becomes cosy. Because there is a bedrock of trust, heads of schools have felt confident to be really open."

Amanda Dawson, Headteacher, Mellers Primary School, Nottinghamshire

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For more information on the Schools Partnership Programme, please contact partnerships@educationdevelopmenttrust.com.