More cash for state and private school partnerships

DfE unveils £200,000 pot for state schools, independent schools and universities wishing to collaborate

Private school

State schools, independent schools and universities will be able to bid for up to £20,000 to help build partnerships, the Department for Education has announced.

The DfE said the money could be used for things such as transport costs between sites and extra curriculum resources, as well as the cost of holding CPD sessions for teachers.


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More than £200,000 will be available for partnerships to bid into from the autumn, with bids of over £5,000 requiring matched funding from the partnership. The DfE said larger bids would be capped at £20,000 – excluding the match funding element – to benefit as many schools as possible.

In a speech via video to the Schools Together Group annual conference, schools minister Lord Agnew will say: “This government’s ambition is to create an education system that extends opportunity to everyone. One of the ways in which we can extend opportunity is through partnerships – schools working with other schools and universities to share what’s best about each sector.

He will add: “This funding will create fantastic opportunities for schools, which could use grants either as seed funding for new partnerships, or to expand and deepen existing ones.

“I invite you – as leaders in education – to use this opportunity to bring about a new wave of meaningful partnerships, and to encourage others to think about how similar collaborations could benefit their schools as others across the country have already.”

In assessing bids, the DfE said it would support partnerships “that are impactful, sustainable, mutually beneficial and that will actively tackle disadvantage”.  

The funding builds on a government policy, first outlined in November 2016, that private schools and universities should give more support to state schools.

At the time, the government suggested that private schools could lose their tax breaks and universities could lose tuition fee income if they failed to comply, but this threat was later dropped.

In November 2018 the DfE published guidance with suggested areas for collaboration between state schools, independent schools and universities. Ideas included sharing teachers in shortage subjects, forming mixed-school classes in subjects such as languages, sponsoring academies and setting up free schools.

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