School Partnerships for Impact

Posted on: 24 Jan 2023
Posted by: Sue Riley

Sue Riley, CEO of the School Partnerships Alliance, explains how the organisation's new report lays the groundwork for meaningful cross-sector partnership work.

We are delighted to share with ISC members today the first report from School Partnerships Alliance (S.P.A.): School Partnerships for Impact.

The S.P.A. is the membership organisation dedicated to researching, enabling and promoting meaningful partnerships between schools across the state and independent sectors for the benefit of children throughout the education system. To help make this happen, we are very keen to make sure we draw upon expertise and resource from outside the world of education whenever possible. So, we teamed up with The Partnering Initiative (TPI) to demonstrate the power of cross-sector partnerships between different organisations. This is the first time TPI has delved into the world of education, so we are pleased to benefit from their fresh perspective.

Our report starts to build a common framework for how schools can become involved in a partnership or make an existing one even more powerful. It pieces together established best practice to develop a clear model to demystify how partnerships work for schools interested in these types of collaborations.

We share how partnering together to tackle regional challenges achieves greater opportunities for all pupils than schools could do on their own (perhaps more important now, when both schools and families are faced with the challenges of the cost of living crisis, than ever before).

There are also many examples of innovative school partnerships in our report, such as:

• The shared STEM teacher recruitment between local primary, junior and senior state schools and Royal Grammar School, Newcastle (RGS);

• Boosts to post-16 provision for Feltham College, based at Reach Academy, through local independent schools Hampton School and Lady Eleanor Holles School; and,

• York Independent State School Partnership’s work to build business and entrepreneurial skill in 40 Year 10 pupils from across the city.

This, our first report since we were founded in 2021, marks the start of our working with the sector to be a force for school improvement and the strongest outcomes for all children, informed by research and driven by impact.

We are also pleased to say our membership registration is now open. Members receive expert-led training to develop the key competencies of partnership staff; bespoke support to establish, improve, evaluate or scale up partnerships; access to an active, supported community of peers, whether through the exchange of ideas or the contribution towards improving partnerships at system level; and recognition for pursuing meaningful partnerships. More details on our CPD offer are available here.

Partnership staff can access our community meetups, partnership clinics and bespoke consultancy support and take part in a programme of live and recorded training. By engaging in these opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from across the sectors, staff learn how to maximise partnerships to be as effective, innovative and impactful as possible for every pupil.

We look forward to welcoming you to our membership community soon. If you have any questions or comments or would like to find out more about school partnerships or membership, please contact us at

About Sue Riley

Sue Riley is CEO of the School Partnerships Alliance (S.P.A.)