School-University Partnerships Lessons from the RCUK-funded School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI)

Type Commissioned report
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNational Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement
Commissioning bodyNational Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2017
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Abstract

Over the last 4 years we have had the privilege of working on the School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI), an experiment to see whether it was beneficial for schools and universities to partner together to bring cutting-edge research into the classroom. This booklet captures the results from this experience, and we hope it will inspire others to think hard about the opportunities presented by school-university partnerships, and how they can be realised. The SUPI project has provided a rich place to learn about the dynamics of effective partnership working, and a reminder that partnership working is both demanding and hugely rewarding. It has opened up new ways of thinking about partnership working between schools, colleges and universities, captured key insights into what helps and hinders, and has seen the development of really innovative and inspiring projects.
There were lots of highlights from over the 4 years – but I want to reflect on one – and that is how many of the SUPI partnerships sought to involve school students in authentic research, for instance through the Extended Project Qualification for A-level students. This commitment to experimenting with ‘real’ research was a platform for really creative partnership working between researchers, teachers and students. We hope that others will be inspired to explore this opportunity too. To realise the potential of schooluniversity partnerships, we need to see a change in how schools and universities approach this type of working, investing time and resource into long term partnerships that have mutual benefit at their heart. It has been heartening to see the teams involved in the SUPI project begin to address this challenge. We want to thank the SUPI teams for sharing their journeys with us, their commitment to collaborating across the family of projects to help share learning, tackle challenges, and evidence value. In addition we want to thank our external advisory group, for their insights and wisdom, and support for the programme.