Teachers and and schools have the demanding responsibility of preparing young people for the challenges of work and citizenship in our increasingly complex and fast changing world. The education case for partnership is the need to modernise the education system. It must become the foundation of a learning society capable of equipping all young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to face the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life in the next century. This will require quality teaching supported by parents, employers, all levels of government and the voluntary sector.
In this age of the knowledge worker we need to develop the potential of all in terms of appropriate qualifications, key skills and personal attitudes and values to adapt to continuous and accelerating change and to become lifelong learners capable of self-improvement. At this time, too, when communities, institutions and family life are experiencing fundamental change we need to ensure all have the knowledge and skills for active citizenship and personal life based on a moral framework and sense of personal responsibility to others.
Partnerships offer a way to engage whole communities for these purposes. More especially, partnerships bring together the worlds of education, employment, government and the voluntary sector to widen opportunity. As the poster over-page shows, education-business partnerships add value to: * enhance the curriculum and teaching and learning methods
* tackle under-achievement and support those most at-risk
* promote work readiness and key employability skills
* develop teaching and management skills to improve school performance
* improve overall student achievement through integrated strategies.
With the help of local Education Business Partnerships, (EBPs), Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs), local authorities, strategic fora and the Single-Regeneration Budget many schools have now formed partnership programmes with business. In some cases these are focused activities tackling single issues such as literacy mentoring in primary schools and science tutoring in secondary schools. Though, more and more schools are now building partnerships with business into their strategic development plans and looking for a wider range of activities to improve the quality of teaching and learning, and manage more effectively for improved school performance. At the same time, businesses are looking to work together on broader strategic partnerships with local authorities and TECs aiming to develop multiple strategies to build the skills-base in schools, colleges and young adults across whole "Learning Communities."
As partnerships "scale up" from single-objective programmes to a wide range of activity integrating public and private sector resources, quality and sustainability become more important. The A-Z guide sets out key steps and criteria required to build effective public-private sector partnerships. Matching education and business needs for mutual benefits and ensuring all activity is evaluated for impact on student learning are essential steps to build the competitive skills-base and tackle the "tail" of under-achievement.