Building Strong Partnerships

A strength of Islington is the many and varied partnerships that are operating today – from traditional federations to teaching school alliances to networks.


Schools across the country are developing new models of leadership for many reasons, primarily to raise and maintain standards by extending the reach of the best leaders, to secure greater operational efficiencies by working in partnership, and to build sustainability of leadership. New models are not just about structural change: they are built on a shared commitment to improving attainment, well-being and life chances for children and young people - and this moral purpose, accompanied by outward-facing vision, is paramount in overcoming barriers to success.

Collaboration includes partnership working of all kinds between schools, from informal partnerships, through sharing staff or services, to amalgamation. Collaboration can take place between maintained schools of different categories – community, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, foundation and Special Schools. It can also involve working with non-maintained schools and providers e.g. Early Years settings, Academies, Independent Schools and FE/HE Providers. Collaborative working allows flexibility to maximise the benefits to each school – there is no blueprint, although there are models which can be observed as a starting point and inspiration.

There is no one size fits all solution for collaboration and the design and operational workings of any collaboration will depend entirely on the circumstances of those individual schools and their communities and the focus or purpose of their partnership. Through the ICOS Workstream, governors, school leaders and Islington Council have developed the following guidelines.

  • Establishing a Federation
  • Establishing a Strategic Partnership
  • Strategic Partnership and/or Federation
  • Schools HR guidance on models of schools staffing organisations 2018
  • Schools HR guidance on models of schools staffing organisations 2018 – FAQs
  • Memorandum of understanding for strategic partnership (this is a model document and schools will include their own logos/branding)
  • Due diligence checklist – for schools to consider when entering a strategic partnership or federation.

For further advice please contact Anthony Doudle, Head of School Improvement.