We want to harness the resources and expertise of schools, language schools and universities to form partnerships with Books4Languages that are sustainable, have impact and are mutually beneficial to all partners.
We encourage a range of activities within these partnerships around our 3 priority areas – teaching, curriculum and school improvement – to deliver high impact outcomes for the benefit of pupils.
We know that many institutions are already involved in partnerships to support these objectives, and are working closely with other schools. We want to see this good practice adopted more widely and raise the ambition for what can be achieved.
We strongly encourage partner schools to formalise their arrangements in order to clarify the activities and benefits for all involved. Evidence suggests that partnerships that enter into a formal agreement tend to be better formed and more sustainable.
One way of doing this is through agreeing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to ensure that the promised outcomes of the partnership:
- Are fully delivered
- Can be evaluated
The benefits of a MOU
There are several benefits to formalising a partnership through an MOU.
On accountability and governance, it provides:
- Clarity for all partners about what each is putting in, what each is getting out and the timeframe for doing so
- The opportunity for governing boards to scrutinise and sign off on a tangible body of work – this can be helpful for gaining governor support and sustaining this through any changes to the personnel of the governing bodies
- A document that can be shared with school leaders, parents and other school community stakeholders to give clarity about what the partnership involves, and how their school is benefiting from and contributing to the partnership
On sustainability, it provides:
- A tool for integrating the partnership into the strategy and ethos of the school
- An opportunity to safeguard the partnership by ensuring orderly transitions through staff changes
- An opportunity to build a shared responsibility for delivery, ensuring that workload does not fall on a small number of individuals
On evaluation, it provides an opportunity to build impact evaluation into the partnership from the outset and setting out clearly the achievements it hopes to realise.
It is common for schools to be put off by the formal nature, and at times, the detail of a MOU. These concerns should not overshadow the benefits of formalising a partnership.
It is important to keep in mind a MOU is not a legally binding document
It is a statement of serious intent – agreed voluntarily by equal partners – of the commitment, resources, and other considerations that each of the parties will bring.
It has moral force, but does not create legal obligations.
Schools, language schools and universities can all benefit from sharing their knowledge, experience and resources by working together with Books4Languages.
You may already be working with other content providers from your area but now you may need to find a more integrated partnerships with a provider who help you with the design of your own educational path.
We strongly encourage partner schools to formalise their arrangements in order to clarify the activities and benefits for all involved. Evidence suggests that partnerships that enter into a formal agreement tend to be better formed and more sustainable. You can use our memorandum of understanding (MOU) and guidance to help you do this.
Areas for collaboration
We want to encourage schools to build sustainable and reciprocal partnerships, across at least one of the following areas:
This could include:
- Taking part in national programmes, such as training language teachers
- Providing continuing professional development (CPD)
- Sharing teachers in shortage languages
- Cutting teachers’ workload by sharing lesson plans and resources
This could include:
- Helping with curriculum design and delivery, such as lesson plans
- broadening the curriculum, such as forming mixed school classes in subjects such as languages and classics
- Widening the curriculum offer, for example by making use of facilities at universities such as science labs
- Organising attainment raising activities in school holidays
Support tailored activities to meet a language school’s specific needs such as:
- Academic support and mentoring for young people applying or preparing for official language examination
- Working together through teaching school alliances
- Working with local authorities to open up opportunities to language students or extra-curricular activities
Schools or universities with a record of giving this kind of support will be in a stronger position if they decide they want to become an academy sponsor or open a free school in the future.
Everyone involved should agree their objectives and how they’ll work together to achieve them. A clearly defined set of objectives should reflect the strengths and needs of everyone involved.
Together you should decide:
- The aims of the partnership
- Who will be the project lead from each institution
- What specific activities, year groups and subjects the partnership will cover
- What measures will be used to monitor performance
- How you’ll measure the outcomes and impact of the partnership
- How you’ll evaluate the partnership – what data you’ll use, and how it will be shared and analysed
- The form of your partnership agreement, such as through a memorandum of understanding (MOU)
Schools have found it useful to outline their objectives and partnership activities through a non-binding formal agreement. You can set this up using a MOU
Once the governing bodies of both partners have agreed a plan or MOU you can get started.
It’s essential that you are clear on what you hope to achieve and by when.