The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility has recognised facilitating collaboration between schools is key to share best practice and help close the attainment gap in some areas of the country.
Their report, Closing the Regional Attainment Gap, concludes variation in school exam results is one of the factors leading to areas where social mobility is low - and urges intervention to address inequalities and avert serious economic and social repercussions.
The need for collaboration to help narrow the attainment gap was strongly put forward in evidence to the APPG by Dr Vanessa Ogden, (above right) Headteacher of our partner school, Mulberry School for Girls, East London and by our Executive Director Dame Sue John.
Dr Ogden said that when a school became outstanding, it had a ‘system wide responsibility’ to work with other schools in the local area. At the moment, the Mulberry School in Tower Hamlets is working with secondary schools in East London to share best practice, supported by Challenge Partners, and this collaboration is working well.
In her evidence, Dame Sue also stressed the need for collaboration between schools and beyond the school gates. She pointed to the role of the wider community in offering opportunities for collaboration with business and the arts, and of the importance of training and support for school leaders.
Dame Sue said: “I welcome this thorough report which recognises the importance of helping schools to work together, and supporting teachers to develop, so we can ensure all children benefit from a good education.”
The APPG report highlights the power of high quality teaching for disadvantaged pupils and recommends a repurposing of the Pupil Premium into a new ‘Social Mobility Premium’ which can be used for professional development and extra support for teachers in deprived areas, and to help incentivise greater collaboration between schools and other key local partners.
The report also recommends reforms to reduce teacher stress and workload, particularly for those in more challenging schools, and suggests offering a more generous financial incentive, combined with additional professional development, to encourage teachers to take up positions in some areas.
Justin Madders MP (Labour) , chair of the APPG on Social Mobility, said: “Each area has its own challenges so we would like to see more focus on local collaboration between schools, local authorities and universities, harnessing the successes of the London Challenge, and with a focus on social mobility cold-spots.”