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Research report

Partnership working in small rural primary schools

Robert Hill, with Kelly Kettlewell and Jane Salt

CfBT Education Trust (now Education Development Trust) commissioned Robert Hill and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to investigate partnership working in small rural primary schools.

The aim of the research was to investigate the most effective ways for small rural primary schools to work together in order to improve provision and raise standards. The project sought to examine the circumstances and context of small rural schools in Lincolnshire and evaluate their different leadership models (such as collaborations, federations, partnerships or academy chains) to:

  • identify successful approaches to collaboration likely to have a positive impact on pupil achievement
  • identify barriers to successful collaborative models
  • understand the role of the local authority in enabling effective partnership
  • place the Lincolnshire approach in the context of approaches being adopted in other areas in England and best practice in partnership as identified in research literature
  • identify issues and recommendations for policymakers to consider.

The report provides three sets of ten lessons for schools, policymakers and local authorities.

Robert Hill, supported by NFER researchers, staff at Lincolnshire local authority and the CfBT in-house research team, conducted a detailed analysis of data about the participating schools, four case studies and seven focus group interviews.

As well as the main report of findings there is a secondary report composed of supporting materials which is also available to download.