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PSL reveals the latest theory and practice in partnering in education

London, UKLearning NewsBob Little Press & PR

Effective collaboration is the key to gaining sustainable competitive advantage – not just within the private sector but throughout the economy, including the education sector.

Demonstrating this was the aim of speakers at ‘Partnering in Education’ – Partnership Sourcing Limited (PSL)’s latest Executive Partnering Knowledge Network conference. The event, held at King’s College Cambridge, was sponsored by the PSL member company Toshiba.

In his keynote address, Barry Sheerman MP – who recently celebrated his 30th Anniversary as the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Huddersfield commented: “In the light of current economic conditions – signified by public sector spending cuts, including those in the education sector – we need to think of new ways of doing business. In particular, we need to be inventive if we are all to overcome the challenges ahead.”

Up until the change of Government, Barry Sheerman was Chairman of the House of Commons Parliamentary Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families and previously chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Education and Skills from 2001 to 2007. The approach he advocates includes building new partnerships because, he said: “partnerships are central to how we deliver high quality in education – and in other areas of our national life.”

“You can’t work in isolation any more – even at the highest level,” agreed Len Daniels, Toshiba’s Education and Public Sector Sales Manager, referring to the UK’s coalition Government. He went on to outline a number of trends in education in the 21st century, including:
• Increasing emphasis on personalised learning
• Universal home access to information, via the internet
• The growth of virtual and social learning environments
• There are now opportunities for learning anywhere at anytime – and for shared learning experiences – thanks to advancing technology

A further trend – explained by presentations from four pupils at Stretford High School in Manchester, who were introduced by the school’s Assistant Head Teacher, Daniel Stucke – is designating a number of pupils throughout the school as ‘digital leaders’. It is their job to not only help their fellow pupils to make the most of the learning opportunities afforded and enhanced by technology but also to coach their teachers in how to use technology in the classroom to its greatest educational advantage.

The technology theme continued with Phil Austin the Managing Director of Life Channel, who explained how bespoke TV programming in schools is helping pupils (and parents) to better understand the big issues affecting our lives, such as sustainability.

Amanda Fisher, General Manager of VT Education, commented that the key factors for successful partnering are a genuine alignment of vision and objectives for the parties in the partnership – particularly in terms of ethos, philosophy and values.

This theme was reinforced by Vicki Fagg the Principal of the College of North West London, recognised as an expert on the development of Further Education.

Later, during the panel discussion, a delegate from Raytheon Systems Ltd described Stretford High School’s digital leaders technique as ‘reverse mentoring’ and agreed that a similar system was in use at Raytheon. The consensus among both the panel and delegates was that this collaborative approach brings a large number of benefits which, for the best results, needs to be handled and managed professionally.