A formal arrangement can ensure that both parties share and agree goals and aspirations for their school link.
A partnership agreement helps you and your partner school to:
- agree a shared vision for collaboration
- establish mutually agreed educational goals
- survive changes in the staff involved or other circumstances
- evaluate the effectiveness of the partnership and
- build a framework for issues of accountability and responsibility.
A partnership agreement will provide a firm foundation for your partnership and should:
- start small and set realistic aims
- build on the partnership year by year
- involve the active participation of both partner schools, each contributing and benefiting equally
- state how each of the partner schools will contribute to the development of the partnership and activities.
What should be included?
The document should be agreed formally by the partner schools, signed by head teachers (and governors) and dated. Here is a list of key points that a first partnership agreement should cover.
- The aims of the partnership – think about the medium- and long-term too. You might start with a few classroom projects, but as these develop there could be initiatives that involve the whole school and additional partners. Do both schools have the same aims in mind?
- The objectives - it is helpful to identify specific opportunities for staff development and particular groups of pupils that may benefit. If you can, mention curriculum areas, year groups and name the teachers that will collaborate. You may decide to work towards participation in a particular programme or to apply for funding.
- Support for the partnership - there may be value in involving community groups, local businesses and organisations in the process to raise your partnership's profile and enlist support.
Ideas for whole-school objectives.
- Teaching or learning a language (perhaps for a school outside the UK).
- eLearning and ICT e.g. by using a collaboration space for your partnership (link to where request for these are?).
- Curriculum development e.g.how to make this more interesting, relevant, or easier to understand.
- Raising the profile of the school e.g.with parents and in the community, or nationally through the International School Award.
- Professional development e.g.learning from each other or enhancing teaching practice/bench marking.
- International perspectives e.g.increasing awareness of global issues, enhancing pupils skills for life.
- Doing a project on a particular topic e.g.global citizenship.
- Sharing cultures – such as the music, clothing and religion, attitudes, behaviours.
- Increasing engagement or achievement in the classroom - e.g.pupil leadership initiatives.
- Dissemination - e.g.how to share learning and understanding more widely.
Check out our Partnership Agreement Form to act as a checklist for formalising your partnership.