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Optimism of the will: the development of local area-based education partnerships. A think-piece

Gilbert, C; (2017) Optimism of the will: the development of local area-based education partnerships. A think-piece. London Centre for Leadership in Learning, UCL Institute of Education: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Over the past few years, my interest in local education partnerships has grown. In London, I have chaired two of them and supported a third. Beyond London, I have looked in detail at the work of several established and new partnerships, some of which meet regularly to share knowledge and experience as they develop. This think-piece looks at the emerging picture and the way practice is evolving locally in the hope that it will generate reflection and debate. It reflects my impressions about the potential of such partnerships to strengthen our current system and is, consequently, optimistic. The majority of these partnerships are voluntarily taking responsibility for the collective performance of schools in an area. This is not top-down accountability with a statutory base in individual schools, trusts or local authorities. It is lateral, shared responsibility rooted in ambitious local vision and professional networks. These partnerships are generating energy and commitment because they are making connections across schools and communities to improve schools and outcomes for young people. Many have captured local hearts and minds but they could have an impact at a national level, too. Partnerships have the potential to reduce the risk of fragmentation and dangers of isolationism in an increasingly diverse system. They can enhance the professional and social capital of teachers, and they can deepen motivation, learning and achievement. The question is, how can we make a bigger difference by creating a more connected system locally and indeed, nationally? This think piece is an attempt to look at the emerging picture and kick start that debate. It considers practice across partnerships, identifies some of the opportunities and draws out the characteristics of successful ones. It also identifies some of the key challenges. The power of these partnerships to improve education in their locality has yet to be fully realised or, indeed, evidenced. Yet they have sufficient early promise to merit practical support and encouragement. Certainly, evaluation of some partnerships over several years could help assess their added value and their contribution to the quality of education locally. Ultimately, what we can learn from them might help us create the stronger, more effective and equitable system that we all want.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Optimism of the will: the development of local area-based education partnerships. A think-piece
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.lcll.org.uk/publications.html
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065147
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