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Schools: Co-operation

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what resources his Department makes available to support school partnerships and collaborations; and if he will make a statement. (241626)

The Department supports a number of school partnerships and collaborations. The following table details the key policies which either promote or leverage collaborative working. It includes the cost of those programmes last year in terms of the financial resources either passed directly to schools or LAs (in part or in full) to support partnership working, or the cost of contracts which provide support to schools or LAs (in part or in full) for partnership working. Likewise, it details the financial resources that the Department expects to make available this year to schools or LAs (in part or in full) to support partnership working, or the expected cost of contracts the Department will make available (in part or in full) to support schools or LAs to work in partnership.

Our vision of 21st century schools is ambitious. No single school working alone will be able to deliver its key components. To improve the lives of children, young people, families and the wider local community, schools will need to work in partnership with children and young people; with parents; with other schools and colleges; with early years providers; and with wider services. Our consultation paper published yesterday considers the 21st century school system and how we can ensure deeper, more consistent and more effective partnership working and collaborations.

Partnership policy


Resources available in 2007-08

Resources available in 2008-09

0-7 Partnerships

The Children’s Plan (paragraph 4.50) announced a new initiative to pilot partnership working between schools, Sure Start Children’s Centres, early years and childcare providers and the health service across the 0-7 age range. The aims of the 0-7 Partnerships pilots are to develop and assess different models of partnership and joint working to see how they can improve children's early experiences. These have a huge impact on their later development and achievement and can have an influence on what they do and how they behave throughout their lives.


10 pilots, at least one for every English region, were selected in summer 2008. £2 million has been made available for 2008/9 (out of £10m total funding for the three years 2008-11).

The pilots are designed to:

raise quality;

improve links between settings and services;

improve transition over time (including from pre-school settings into Reception, and from Reception into Year 1);

test out new innovative approaches to partnership working.

Diploma Consortia

Diploma consortia are the groups of partners and providers who come together to deliver one or more of the new Diploma lines. A Diploma consortium has responsibility for:

Delivering particular lines of learning including ensuring facilities are fit for purpose and securing employers’ involvement;

Ensuring member institutions collaborate effectively to deliver the Diploma;

Providing Information Advice Guidance through peer advice and mentoring, opportunities for “tasters” and other “experiential” learning, building on commitments in the Children’s Plan;

Marketing to young people, parents and carers;

Preparing workforce and deploying them effectively; and

Logistical planning of learner numbers, timetabling and transport.

14-19 Partnerships

14-19 Partnerships Delivery of 14-19 education requires a collaborative approach and the involvement of several partners. There is therefore a 14-19 Partnership of some form in every area. The 14-19 Partnership has a strategic role in:

£14.5 million distributed to LAs as 14-19 flexible funding. Only some of this will be spent on partnership working at the LA's discretion.

Flexible funding: £14.5 million. This will be added to the area based grant in 2008/09. Again only part of this will be spent on partnership work and that will be at the LA's discretion.

agreeing the local vision for 14-19 that is consistent with the wider Sustainable Community Strategy, Children and Young People’s Plan and Local Area Agreement;

developing and articulating strategies for the full range of 14-19 priorities; and

supporting Diploma consortia so that they are ready to deliver.

Behaviour and Attendance Partnerships

In Nov. 2004 the Sec. of State signalled an expectation that all secondary schools (including academies, special schools and PRUs) would be working together in partnerships to improve behaviour and tackle persistent absence by Sept 2007. The partnerships are based on the idea that schools will be able to deal more effectively with challenging pupils if they can share expertise, resources and facilities for that purpose. Schools partnerships are voluntary, typically comprising 6-10 secondary schools, although primary and middle schools can join. Schools and local authorities have been encouraged to work in partnership through a series of Ministerial letters, and supported via several rounds of regional workshops, on-line guidance, and extensive support from the National Strategies. No additional funding available from the Dept. for partnership working. These partnerships to be made mandatory under the Children, Skills and Learning Bill. Safer School Partnerships - a voluntary arrangement between schools, police and other agencies. No DCSF or Home Office programme budget but some limited, pump-priming support available to some LAs in this FY.



Community Cohesion - School Linking

The Government investment in the Schools Linking Network will provide:

A new national website - —to allow all schools in England to seek a linking partner on-line, with support from the Schools Linking Network. The website will also hold resources and training materials.



Pilot projects in 40 local authorities to facilitate school linking by providing support and training, including guidance, materials and training for local authority personnel, teachers and other staff embarking on a linking project.

Extended Schools

A key way of delivering Every Child Matters, an extended school works with local providers, agencies (and in many cases other schools) to provide access to a core offer of extended services: a varied range of activities including study support activities for primary and secondary schools; childcare 8am-6pm, all year round for primary schools; parenting and family support; swift and easy access to specialist services such as speech therapy; community use of facilities including adult and family learning and ICT—these will often be provided beyond the school day but not necessarily by teachers or on the school site. In 2008-09 to 2010-11 a total of £1.3 billion of funding will be made available. This funding is to support the delivery of the extended schools core offer and not just to help schools work in partnership together.

£238 million

£297.5 million

Independent School/State School Partnership

The Independent/State Schools Partnerships Scheme aims to break down barriers between the independent and state school sectors, share expertise and good practice, widen educational opportunities, and raise standards in education. The focus of the scheme is on gifted and talented pupils with the aim of increasing the numbers of children applying for university places from communities where educational aspirations are traditionally low. In particular, priority will be given to proposals that aim to increase the uptake of, and attainment in, maths, science and modern foreign languages.

£1 million

£1.5 million (approx)

Academy Federations

The Academy Federation pathfinder, established in 2007, is a pilot project involving 10 federations, in which a low attaining school becomes an Academy and is federated with a strong school, which becomes either an Academy or a Trust school. Funding of up to £300,000 per scheme is available for the strong school to undertake work to support the partner school to become an Academy. The capacity funding is integrated into the funding normally made available for academy projects prior to opening, and is determined on a case by case basis.


Up to £300,000 per project.

London Performance Collaborative

The London Performance Collaborative is a group of London secondary schools working together to raise pupil's attainment.



London Primary Schools Working in Partnership

Small groups of schools working together on a particular theme, such as attainment in mathematics or English.


Up to £450,000

Leading Edge

The Leading Edge Partnership programme enables groups of schools to work together to improve pupil outcomes at key stages 3 and 4, particularly amongst the lowest attaining schools in the partnership. Leading Edge Schools get additional funding of between £60,000 and £90,000 (depending on pupil numbers) p.a. and there is also funding for managing the Programme.

£12.5 million paid to Leading Edge Schools. £925,000 was the cost of managing the Programme (via a contract).

£13.4 million expected to be paid to Leading Edge Schools. £925,000 expected cost of managing the Programme (via a contract).

Trust Schools

Trust Schools work with partners from the private, voluntary and public sectors. Many Trust Schools share their Trust with other schools, and so it becomes a forum for school-to-school partnership working. The very first Trust Schools were provided with up to £15,000 as pathfinder support. Schools looking to acquire a Trust are currently able to access up to £10,000 support.

The total money given directly to schools looking to acquire a Trust was £1.25 million. The Department contracted advice and support for Early Adopters from the TFSP (i.e. a consortium of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Youth Sports Trust and FASNA) at a cost of £1,751,098. Successful applications from local authorities to the Standards and Diversity Fund to support collaborations (Federations and Trust) totalled £14.3 million.

The contract with the TFSP consortium to provide advice and support to schools looking to acquire trust status is expected to cost £3.286 million in 08-09. The Department expects to make up to £2.47 million available to support Trust School projects this year. Further capital funding is available via the Standards and Diversity Fund from 2008-09 to 2010-11 to support federations and Trust school proposals.


Schools in a federation operate through a single shared governing body, or have joint committees of their governing bodies. The federation model itself can generate financial savings and efficiencies for schools and all schools have the flexibility in their budgets to invest in collaboration. Working together through formal shared governance structures enables schools to raise standards and maintain local provision by sharing resources, staff, expertise, and facilities. The variety of models offered by federation makes it adaptable to suit individual contexts, and local needs and objectives. There is some capital funding available to support federations via the Standards and Diversity Fund (targeted capital funding).

Successful applications from local authorities to the Standards and Diversity Fund in 2007-08 to support federations and Trust school capital proposals totalled £14.3 million.

£120,000 via the National College for School Leadership to support federation schools working with a shared School Business Manager. Further capital funding is available via the Standards and Diversity Fund from 2008-09 to 2010-11 to support federations and Trust school proposals. The department will hold conferences for rural primary schools to provide an opportunity for schools to find out more about federation and to learn from the experiences of others.

The Department will also publish:

new simplified guidance to help schools to form a federation;

new case studies of federations between schools in rural areas to share best practice and to demonstrate the potential efficiencies and other benefits;

reports from research currently being undertaken with clusters of schools to identify the benefits that closer collaborative working and pooling of resources would generate for children and staff. This research will provide clear examples to schools which will support governors and heads as they consider close partnership working.

Education Improvement Partnerships

In Education Improvement Partnerships, schools collaborate to deliver services that would usually be delivered by their Local Authority. Where the LA has funding for the delivery of these services they may decide, locally, to devolve this funding to the schools. The Department keeps no record of this.