The Department for Education and Skills plans to use partnership working as a lever to improve educational standards.There are already many examples of successful partnerships within educational networks, with schools and colleges working together, and between the networks and other parts of the public, private and voluntary sectors. The DfEE wants to build on these examples.The newly published Education Improvement Partnerships prospectus sets out a framework for collaboration in the education service.Areas for collaboration include Learning Partnerships which promote a culture of provider collaboration across sectors, such as schools, Further Education based learning and adult and community learning, covering post-16 learning.The partners include voluntary groupings of local learning providers and others such as local government, Connexions/Careers Service, trade unions, employers and faith groups.
Partnerships will play a major role in meeting a wide range of demands related to the 14 – 19 reforms, particularly those concerned with behaviour improvement. Partners will include Further Education colleges, business partners, sports clubs as well as primary and secondary schools, special schools, City Technology Colleges, academies, Pupil Referral Units and independent schools. Partnerships will also feature significantly in the provision of extended services such as early years facilities. These will involve nursery schools or accredited childminder networks, and other private and voluntary sector providers.
The Prospectus foresees Education Improvement Partnerships evolving with some well-established partnerships developing quickly. It makes it clear that there is no application process and that it is for groups of schools and their local authorities to make partnerships happen in a manner that suits local circumstances. The DfEE wants to hear about where partnerships are planned, whether support is needed and whether there are other functions that might be included in Educational Improvement Partnerships.