Whether you have a longstanding connection or are working with someone new, it’s important to formalise your partnership to structure all future collaboration.

A partnership agreement, for example, will help you set clear roles and expectations, and define your objectives.

Here are our tips and guidance for establishing your partnership and setting a framework for your collaboration. 

Our guiding principles 

A good starting point for framing your partnership are our three guiding principles.

  • Educational – school partnerships should enhance teaching and learning in both schools through the planning, implementation and sharing of joint curriculum projects
  • Equity-based – discussion and learning should be two-way and reciprocal; both schools should contribute equally to the partnership
  • Sustainable – both schools should be committed to a long-term relationship.

Set clear expectations 

We recommend agreeing expectations, setting timescales and identifying any possible stumbling blocks from the very start. Some considerations: 

  • how much time does your partner school have to dedicate to the partnership?
  • what does a typical day look like for your partner, and what is the time difference in your countries?
  • what level of internet access do staff in your partner school have?
  • are there any language barriers and how can you overcome them?

Communication is key 

Good communication is at the heart of any school partnership. 

Take time to consider the online communication and collaboration tools that would best meet you and your partner’s needs, and be aware of potential time differences and language barriers.

Plan in regular meetings between teachers and/or pupils to keep the partnership running smoothly, to support progress and to highlight any issues. Try to agree a specific time every month for a meeting – a consistent time will allow attendees to plan their schedule accordingly. 

To ensure the partnership is sustained if a key member of the project leaves, share ownership of the partnership and related resources among more staff members. If you feel priorities are slipping, arrange a catch-up with your partner to reiterate your joint objectives, share feedback and concerns, and explore how to get the most out of working together.

Connect with senior leadership 

Keep senior leaders informed of all your future plans and any key project activities. Involvement and support from senior leadership is important to ensuring your partnerships are productive, resilient and built to last.