school partnerships government report Jan 2014


This 4th special report from the Education Select Commitee is on School Partnerships and Cooperation. On 6 November 2013 the committee published their Fourth Report of Session 2013-14, School Partnerships and Cooperation. The Government response was received on 6 January 2014 and is published as an Appendix to this Special Report.

The full report can be found at However a copy is also attached below.

Key messages from the Select Committee are:

  • Properly handled, school collaboration offers benefits to all schools involved
  • There are creative tensions between competition and collaboration
  • Robust evaluation will improve the impact of school partnerships
  • Diversity of models is needed, to meet individual needs
  • Collaboration is improved if there are clear lines of accountability and some obligations
  • DfE 'similar schools' data should be reviewed to be richer and more easily accessible. The original 'families of schools' model would have helped achieve greater buy in
  • Partnerships in which all members are located within close proximity are most likely to be effective. The DfE should bear in mind the significance of this when identifying sponsors for academies
  • Concerned that the Government’s definition of a “reasonable travelling distance” has not been sensibly applied to the similar schools tables. We recommend that the definition is altered to become “within an hour’s drive”
  • In rural and coastal areas the number of suitable partner schools within an hour’s drive may be very limited. We recommend that the Government set out how the similar schools model applies to schools in rural and coastal areas and assess the applicability of the collaborative model to remote schools
  • We strongly support Sir Michael Wilshaw’s proposal for an excellent leadership award to be given to school leaders rather than schools
  • We see the potential of a workable model of school accountability that incentivises schools to form partnerships
  • Funding incentives to encourage partnerships should be considered
  • academy sponsorship is not always the right engagement model for such partnerships. We recommend that the Government re-introduce targeted seed corn funding
  • We recommend that the Government set out clearly the role of local authorities in helping to broker school-to-school partnerships

Jan 14 school partnerships Government response education select committee (PDF, 144 KB)