Partnerships – schools and universities

Partnerships between schools and universities in the UK are in a state of flux with relationships that are influenced by the needs of the school. Whilst the government has enforced independent and state school partnerships, most fee-paying schools have a long history of collaborating with the local community to help share approaches and ideas. Collaborations with schools, universities, industry and various community groups are essential for sustaining and developing our schools. However, the way in which partnerships form and whether the university is committed to partnership working are critical when building relationships with schools. In some cases, trust and collaboration are needed to overcome the logistical challenges that might hinder engagement and development of resources. Balance this with the need for funding and support, these challanges can influence long-term and future working.

In order for schools to foster a sucessful two-way partnership, leaders from both parties need to be clear, on what can be offered, both in terms of an effective programme drawn on external expertise for professional development. Once a partership has been established, staff from each institution should devote time to work towards this vision. This may be a time consuming process, so starting small, and building over time will lead to successful delivery. Nevertheless, the relationships between schools and universities are changing so rapidly that it makes sense to explore practice and in future, share ideas on how to achieve a positive impact.

For examples of school/university partnership projects, please visit