Ardingly College and Ifield Community College Partnership Celebrated in Parliament

Staff from Ardingly College and Ifield College joined ministers, shadow ministers, MPs and peers in the House of Commons to celebrate the thousands of successful partnership projects taking place between state and independent schools across the UK.

The ‘Celebrating Partnerships’ event, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Independent Education on Tuesday 11 February, recognised the diverse range of ways in which schools from different sectors work together to create learning and development opportunities for all pupils and staff involved. Projects include subject support in maths, science and modern foreign languages; teacher training; setting up and sponsoring new state schools; and careers and higher education workshops and advice.

Speakers at the event included Lord Agnew, parliamentary under-secretary of state for the school system; Layla Moran, education spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats; Andrew Lewer MBE MP, chairman of the APPG on Independent Education; and Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

Guests were presented with copies of a report published by the ISC entitled Celebrating Partnerships, which showcases just a handful of the many meaningful partnerships that exist today and features the work of Ardingly College with Ifield Community College. Having outperformed major universities in the Australian Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2019, the two schools are using their knowledge gained to build a flat pack supplied solar car for the developing world, able to power a small house when not being used for transport.

After the event, Dr Andrew Spiers, Director of Ardingly Solar said “An educational partnership of this nature, where there is a genuine desire to share both resources and teachers’ enthusiasm and knowledge, greatly increases the learning outcomes of both sets of students.”

Headteacher of Ifield Community College, Rob Corbett conferred:

“The partnership project with Ardingly College has given our students a tremendous and highly educational experience of real-life problem solving in a technological project. It has fired their enthusiasm to pursue careers in engineering and high tech solutions, as well as bringing to life the very real need to find alternatives to carbon based fuels.”

Julie Robinson, ISC chief executive, said: “Working with the Department for Education, we have been making huge strides to develop and strengthen partnership projects between independent and state schools, which benefit tens of thousands of pupils every year.

“Collaborating with local communities and other schools is part of the very essence of our schools. We know that when carried out effectively by schools choosing to work together voluntarily to achieve clear and specific aims, partnership projects have the potential to unlock new educational experiences for all involved.”