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Proving the power of partnerships

Friday 15 November 2019

This week the Independent Schools Council (ISC) published its annual report into cross-sector partnership work between independent and state schools.

The report Celebrating Partnerships highlights the many ways in which collaborations benefit schools and their local communities. There are over 1,300 ISC schools in total, of which 1,142 are in partnership with state schools, and the number is growing year on year.

ISC chief executive Julie Robinson notes in the report’s introduction that “successful partnerships are always a two-way street”. Whether the partnerships are focussed on academic work or extracurricular activities, children from all the schools involved benefit from the opportunity to meet and work together.

The report showcases projects around the country, including the joint Combined Cadet Force run by The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) and Bishop Young Academy. Students share training and activities that build personal resilience and character, in addition to developing their skills in leadership and self-reliance.

This is just one example of GSAL’s many partnership projects with around 130 other schools. Up to 2,000 pupils a year are involved in cross-curricular activities that provide academic enhancement as well as memorable cultural or sporting experiences.

Another long-established partnership is with Parklands Primary School, where GSAL sixth form students volunteer enthusiastically every Wednesday afternoon. They work with Parklands pupils on varied projects such as murals, exam preparation and learning Spanish.

Parklands head teacher Chris Dyson says: “The raising of aspirations is the biggest success of our partnership with GSAL. Our pupils get to see what hard work and dedication to your studies can achieve. It’s no coincidence that as this partnership has flourished, so have our exam results.”

A range of school outreach activities take place at GSAL, ranging from maths and French workshops for primary pupils to revision sessions for GCSE candidates from local secondaries, and much more.

GSAL also works in partnership with organisations such as Leeds City Museum, Ilkley Literature Festival, Otley Science Festival and Harrogate Theatre, supporting events and opportunities that enrich the lives and learning of children and young people in and around Leeds.

Parklands pupils are pictured with GSAL sixth form volunteers, admiring their mural.

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