A NEW partnership has been launched to bring together school headteachers, education professionals and young people from across Cambridgeshire.

The county’s Service Director for Education, Jonathan Lewis, former National Chairman of the Independent Schools Association, Deborah Leek-Bailey OBE, and Tricia Pritchard from the Opportunity Area Partnership Board for Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, were among delegates who came together at King’s Ely to celebrate the official launch of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership.

King’s Ely, Ely College and Littleport and East Cambridgeshire Academy joined forces to set up the organisation last autumn, but since then almost a dozen other local primary and secondary schools, from both independent and state schools, have come on board.

The partnership aims to bring together local schools to work together for the mutual benefit of all pupils, and to provide opportunities for students from schools within the partnership to gain access to a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), MFL (Modern Foreign Languages), Arts, Sport and Enrichment activities.

The partnership aims to create opportunities for collaboration and dissemination of good practice within the teaching community, to develop, support and retain the best teachers in our schools, and to raise the aspirations and accelerate the progress of our young people.

Jonathan Lewis said: “Whilst every school is unique, every school has something it can offer another school regardless of its size, status and performance. The development of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership is a unique and exciting opportunity to improve outcomes for children and young people in the area through sharing the skills, expertise and commitment of our talented staff in schools. Despite a challenging financial context, every child deserves access to a diverse range of opportunities and knowledge so they can successfully transition to adulthood. The partnership will provide a fantastic opportunity to support this objective.”

Deborah Leek-Bailey OBE shared her perspective on the benefits of collaborative working to raise the aspirations of young people and the teaching bodies in our schools. She said: “This exciting Independent State School Partnership is addressing a need within the local community and will undoubtedly provide many unique learning opportunities for both pupils and staff. A tremendous amount of dedication to the project’s success was exhibited by every school leader who attended the launch and some exciting projects are already underway. Such collaborations will not only raise aspirations but also impact positively on teaching and learning.”

Director of Outreach at King’s Ely, Celia Etchegoyen, said: “The response from local schools to our Principal, Sue Freestone’s, vision of creating an educational partnership in Cambridgeshire has been incredible. Eighteen head teachers and senior leaders from the primary and secondary education sectors attended the launch of the partnership. The enthusiasm and willingness of leaders to work collaboratively together to enhance the opportunities for the young people of Cambridgeshire bodes well for the future of this new partnership.”

Principal of Ely College, Richard Spencer, said: “As a founder member of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership, Ely College is proud to be able to share our good work for the benefit of other children in the community. Our own students have gained access to enrichment activities through the partnership; be it scientific lectures or attending a drama production. In challenging times, it is really encouraging to see local schools coming together in such a positive way. We congratulate King’s Ely for getting this project up and running. It is a real privilege to be involved in the collaboration which, I have no doubt, will go from strength to strength.”

Head of Littleport and East Cambridgeshire Academy (LECA), Scott Gaskins, said: “It is a real privilege to be a part of this partnership from the very beginning. Everyone at LECA is looking forward to sharing the wealth of opportunities we offer with the partner schools and helping to improve the enrichment of students across the county. It is a fantastic opportunity for students of all ages to work together and share unique experiences, and one that can only be positive for all involved.”

To find out more about the partnership, please contact Celia Etchegoyen by emailing CeliaEtchegoyen@kingsely.org

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