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Literature review: analysis of current research, theory and practice in partnership working to identify constituent components of effective ITT partnerships

Paula Zwozdiak-Myers

Karen Cameron

Carolyn Mustard

Marilyn Leask

Andrew Green

Contents

Executive Summary 4
1 Introduction 7
1.1 Background 7

1.2 Structure of the report 11



2 Models of partnership working between ITT providers and schools,

and their impact on partner institutions, practitioners and learners 12

2.1 Statutory requirements and guidance relating to ITT partnerships 12

2.2 Primary and secondary school partnerships 14

2.3 Roles within multiple partnerships 20

2.4 Partnerships between Training Schools and HEIs 32

2.5 Partnerships within the Eye Project 36

2.6 Partnerships within a Complementary placement model 41

2.7 Partnerships within the Teach First model 43

2.8 Partnership agreements 44

2.9 PLA perspectives of partnership working across the regions 45

2.10 Summary of key points 47


3 Models of partnership working in the education sector and their

impact on partner institutions, practitioners and learners 48
3.1 Sure Start children's centres 48

3.2 Extended schools 53

3.3 Creative Partnerships 60

3.4 Partnerships between schools and HEIs 62

3.5 Leadership in the context of multi-sectoral partnerships 70

3.6 Partnerships using online environments 72

3.7 Summary of key points 76

4 United Kingdom and International Models of partnership working 77
4.1 Partnership models within the United Kingdom 77

4.2 Partnership models in Australia 79

4.3 Partnership models in the United States of America 89

4.4 Summary of key points 98



5 Effective ITT partnerships: the core components 100

5.1 Vision 100

5.2 Organisational Structures 102

5.3 Communications 103

5.4 Ways of Working 103

5.5 Networking 104

5.6 Flexibility 105

5.7 Relationships 105

5.8 Roles and Responsibilities 106

5.9 Commitment 106

5.10 Resources 107

5.11 Recommendations 108


6 Methodology 111
6.1 Objectives of Review 111

6.2 Initial criteria and procedures 112

6.3 Searching for studies 113

6.4 Selection of relevant sources of literature 114

6.5 Analysis of evidence 115

6.6 Potential limitations 116



References 117

Appendix 1- Summary template designed for literature reviewed 123

Appendix 2- Information related to the Literature review sample 124

Executive summary

The main purpose of this literature review was to analyse current research, theory and practice in partnership working, to establish which models of ITT partnership working are currently seen as effective practice. Literary sources selected for this review provide exemplars of ITT partnership working in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America, along with exemplars of partnership working in the wider educational sector.

Analysis of these sources revealed that there is no ‘one size fits all’ model as the goals, structures and processes inherent within different kinds of partnership, even within ITT, can be quite distinct. A majority of the sources focused on discrete aspects of partnerships rather than on a model of partnership working per se. There were however, a number of recurring themes embedded within the literature, which signaled essential components of successful working partnerships, as illustrated in Figure 1.

The need to have congruent and negotiated goals, underpinned by a shared vision and philosophy about the direction and purpose of the partnership was paramount. Strategic management and distributed leadership along with formalised systems for quality assurance and the coordination of training, embedded within the infrastructure of organisations and institutions, was a hallmark of success. Effective channels of communication operating on a range of levels was a vital component of partnership work and served many purposes, including enabling partners to engage in dialogue, debate and conversations on a range of critical issues. Inclusive approaches to partnership working, such as joint planning, joint decision-making and boundary spanning across institutions were indicative of sharing expertise, sharing good practice and building bridges between the research, theory and practice of teaching. Networking through a range of channels was imperative if partnerships were to stay abreast of local, national and international key drivers and initiatives and also minimise the potential risk of teacher isolation.

The capacity to exercise flexibility was an important characteristic of a collaborative profile, as were many others, which relate directly to building successful working relationships. Trust was a very strong recurrent theme and deemed to be an essential prerequisite for the formation, maintenance and sustainability of effective working relationships and collaborative partnerships. Many roles within partnership working are complex and multidimensional particularly those, which incorporate the coordination of initial teacher training across multiple partnerships. Clarity about, and a shared understanding of, the expectations associated with each dimension [e.g. managerial, pedagogical, evaluative and pastoral aspects] embedded within specific roles and responsibilities was vitally important so as to ensure individuals, including trainees and new mentors, know where to turn for guidance and support. Underpinning the success of effective partnership working was the commitment demonstrated by individuals within the partnership at all levels. Professional attributes of accountability, responsibility and high levels of engagement and participation were central to the creation of a supportive and enabling environment. For partnerships to deliver high quality training, the appropriate allocation of resources – realised in terms of staffing, funding, time, facilities and expertise - was a fundamental imperative. Some models of partnership working appear to be resource intensive [e.g. Teach First, ProMAT Programme] whereas others have shared funding allocations and staff expertise to launch initiatives, which have benefited both partners in creative ways [e.g. Training Schools and HEIs].

At the core of successful collaborative partnership working was the desire to build an atmosphere of collegiality in which professional learning enhanced the career trajectory of all practitioners and contributed, not only toward the professional development of ITT trainees but also, toward the development of plurilingual professionals. The integration of school-based training with HEI provision was designed to develop a research culture, which developed reflective practice so as to enable practitioners to engage in critical discourse and dialogue as they forged links between theory and their own practice.

Some notable benefits of having trainees in schools is exemplified in the following narrative:


I think we owe it to future generations of teachers to be involved as best we can in high quality training. The school benefits as students bring different experiences and expertise to the job. Teachers who support the trainees benefit by making them review and update their own practice. Children benefit from having additional interested committed adults with them to develop their own learning

In the light of this literature review a number of recommendations are put forward in section 5.



Partnerships'>Figure 1: Constituent components of Effective ITT Partnerships

Vision

Collaboration
Collaborative decision making
Linking Theory and Practice



Sustainable Communities of Practice

Networking

shared philosophy-values-goals-mission; ideological consensus-combining perspectives; shared direction and purpose-mutually understood; congruent and negotiated goals embedded within a shared understanding of the professional standards

personal contacts; establishing links through participation at local, regional and national training events to stay abreast of developments; liaison between partners; draws upon distributed expertise; diverse use of a range of communication channels


Organisational Structures

Flexibility

contractual agreements; clearly defined roles and responsibilities; strategic leadership; formalised systems for quality assurance and co-ordination of training; formalised structures for dialogue, negotiation, sharing best practice and resources [financial, material and human]; shared understanding of training requirements and deployment of staff with appropriate expertise; empowered approach to inter-organisational collaboration


able to adapt or accommodate needs of partner and developments within the partnership; demonstrates characteristics of a collaborative profile; can respond to changing local, national and international requirements


Relationships

built upon trust and respect; open, inclusive approach which values and reflects equality; proactive and multi-directional engagement; developed and sustained over time; enhances motivation, self-esteem and confidence which empowers practitioners

Communication

Roles and Responsibilities

effective and open channels; co-ordination; culture of discourse and shared dialogue; conflict resolution; common language, critical conversations; challenging assumptions

clearly defined and expectations understood by all members within the partnership; joint responsibility for planning, training and assessing trainees and aspects of the course; reviewed regularly to ensure they remain fit for purpose


Ways of Working

Commitment

joint planning and joint decision-making; mentoring at all levels; sharing resources; consistency of quality; reflection in/on professional practice; distributed leadership and appropriate delegation of authority; building bridges between research, theory and practice; environment where differences of opinion can be voiced and valued; deliberative and inclusive approaches; joint-paired observation; teamwork; boundary spanning across institutions; draws upon multi professional perspectives and diverse areas of expertise

highly accountable and responsible disposition; high levels of engagement and participation in training to stay abreast of initiatives; high expectations of all aspects of provision in supporting partners and trainees to create an inclusive and enabling environment


Resources

appropriate allocation of time, staffing, facilities and range of expertise to deliver high quality training; underpinned by appropriate levels of funding

Potential Benefits: working collaboratively builds an atmosphere of collegiality in which professional learning enhances the career trajectory of all practitioners and develops plurilingual professionals; sharing best, inclusive and innovative practice enhances the quality of teaching and accelerates improvement in standards and the learning experiences of pupils to build capacity for all stakeholders; the integration of school based training with HEI provision develops a research culture which enables reflective practitioners to engage in critical discourse as they link theory with practice


1: Introduction

The specification for this literature review was to conduct a desk and internet study of existing research (from 2004 to 2009) on partnership practice and theory relating to initial teacher training (ITT) in England. The purpose was to add to the evidence base and establish an overview of how these partnerships operate and what outcomes, direct or indirect, they can have on the organisations, individual practitioners and children and young people’s learning. The review sought to illustrate where and how effective partnerships have had a positive impact with a view to identifying which models of ITT partnership working are currently seen as best practice. This section provides a background for the review and describes how this report is structured.



1.1 Background

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is an executive non-departmental body of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) whose principal aim is to secure an effective school workforce that raises educational standards, provides every child with the opportunity to develop his or her potential, and thereby improves children’s life chances. The TDA thus has a leadership role to support and challenge the education sector to strengthen the capability of schools in the development of their workforce and the management of change more generally. Their approach to achieving this is designed to benefit schools in three key areas:



  • securing the supply of the school workforce through promotion of the teaching profession and quality assurance for ITT, which helps schools to recruit sufficient good quality teachers to their workforces
  • supporting the development of the school workforce through their creation and promotion of professional and occupational standards, support of performance management arrangements, and stimulation of a sufficient supply of high quality in-service training, which helps schools to increase the skill level of their workforce


  • supporting the ongoing reform of the school workforce, the wider education sector and children and young people’s services, which helps schools to be proficient in managing the process of change required for workforce reform.

In order to deliver on these responsibilities, the TDA works closely with the DCSF, the National College for School Leadership (NCSL), the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and many others partners. Further details on the role and funding of the TDA are available on their corporate website (www.tda.gov.uk)

Several terms pertinent to this review, as presented in the glossary for Initial Teacher Training (TDA, 2008a), are defined as follows:



Partnership – a formal arrangement, set out in a partnership agreement, whereby schools work together with a higher education institution (HEI) or with other schools or colleges to provide initial teacher training (ITT)

Provider – a consortium of schools, a higher education institution (HEI), or any other institution accredited by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) to provide initial teacher training (ITT)

Training – preparation for the achievement of qualified teacher status (QTS). Whereas every aspect of a training route or course leading to QTS could be seen as training, the term has a more specific meaning: the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) route should include at least 60 days of training. In this context, training must be intentional, planned and reviewed, rather than simply an experience or activity

Centre-based training – training provided for groups of trainees at a central venue, such as a university, college or one of the partnership schools


School-based training – training provided for individual trainees or groups of trainees in the schools in which they are placed

Quality assurance – planned, systematic processes, which provide confidence that training and outcomes are of high quality. The processes should cover:


  • the design and planning of provision

  • the recruitment and selection of trainees

  • the training and assessment of trainees

  • the monitoring
    and evaluation of the quality of the training and outcomes for trainees

  • action to be taken in the light of evidence gained about the quality of training and outcomes

The current ITT partnership model has been in place since 19921 yet, since its inception, the TDA has striven to ensure sufficient capacity and quality in school-based training during a phase of significant expansion in recruitment to teacher training. Many government policies and initiatives, particularly those introduced by New Labour since 1997, encouraged the growth of a wide range of school partnerships and networks which have given schools a lead position in initial teacher training.

Training Schools (TS) were established as centres of excellence to develop and disseminate good practice in initial teacher training; train mentors/school-based tutors; and, to undertake research. Models for Working Together (DfES, 2003) set out parameters for pump priming support available to applicants for funding inter-school collaborations. The government introduced Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs) (DfES, 2005a) to stimulate the expansion of high quality collaboration, the devolution of responsibilities and resources from local authorities (LAs) to groups of schools and other partners, and to rationalise partnership activity as, and where, appropriate within the context of a New Relationship with Schools. The Secretary of State identified cooperation as a necessary prerequisite in the delivery of comprehensive education for all pupils (DfES, 2005b). This prospectus indicated that confident schools wanted to collaborate with others in the community so as to drive a shared agenda for improving standards, share resources and good practice, ensure high quality provision for all young people and underpin community cohesion. Strong and effective partnerships were evidenced in such initiatives as Excellence in Cities (EiC), the Leadership Incentive Grant (LIG), the Leading Edge Partnership Programme (LEPP), Network Learning Communities, Federations and Specialist Schools.

The government also introduced a White Paper proposing a radical reform of the 14-19 education system, which has driven the development of greater collaboration between schools. This reform incorporates a widening of the curriculum and range of opportunities offered to students in order to tailor provision toward the aspirations and talents of young people, as well as greater flexibility about what and where to study and when to take the diploma qualifications (DfES, 2005c).

The Specialist Schools Programme (SSP) aims to help schools, in partnership with private sector sponsors and supported by additional government funding, to establish distinctive identities through their chosen specialisms and achieve their targets to raise standards. From early 2010, School Improvement Partnerships (SIPs) will be responsible for taking decisions about schools’ specialist status.

The TDA has supported providers and schools through the National Partnership Project (NPP) to promote capacity, coherence and quality building between major stakeholders involved in initial teacher education (ITE) and, more recently, the Partnership Development Schools (PDS) programme to address emerging priorities. To date, the approach to ITT school partnerships has focused on identifying effective practice within the sector and sharing this through regional networks and TDA field forces. This approach, together with many of the above mentioned initiatives, has built a considerable body of evidence which points toward a need for clear messaging from the TDA, and support for ITT partnerships to ensure that the needs of all stakeholders involved in the development of the children’s workforce in schools are met.

One key aim underpinning a majority of these programmes, schemes and initiatives has been to heighten the central importance of the school-based element, increasing capacity for initial teacher training through the promotion of new routes as well as to improve the quality of placements, which sends ‘a clear message to schools that they are expected to be centre stage in initial teacher education’ (Evans, Holland, Wolstenholme, Willis and Hawksley, 2006:2).

Within the context of such policy drivers as the Children’s Plan, 21st Century Schools and 2020 Children and Young People’s Workforce Strategy, the TDA has launched a new initiative, the beyond partnership project2, to support a step change in ITT to ensure that the providers’ role in delivering a world-class workforce keeps pace with the policy context and changing needs of schools. In collaboration with experts3 within the education sector, those in the school workforce social partnership and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the TDA has also developed the first government funded national qualification for teachers, providing additional support for those entering the profession: the Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL) degree. The vision of MTL will be achieved by providing high quality professional learning opportunities that progressively develop individual teacher’s professional attributes, knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the four content areas set out in the national Framework for MTL4. MTL provision is a collaborative partnership comprised of schools in which teachers undertake the MTL, and HEIs. Graham Holley (2009: 2), Chief Executive of the TDA, states that principles, which underpin the MTL mean:


Schools will be better placed to meet individual pupils’ learning needs and teachers will be able to take a practice-based qualification that is tailored to their personal and professional needs in their schools. Supported by an in-school coach, the qualification will help teachers to extend their skills and abilities to be the best they can be – for the benefit of the children and young people they teach … by acting as coaches to new teachers undertaking the masters, existing teachers will be sharing their knowledge with the next generation of teachers and helping to further an ethos of continuing professional development in their schools, which will benefit everyone.

1.2 Structure of the report

Findings from this literature review into aspects of effective partnership working are presented in the following sections:



  1. Models of partnership working between ITT providers and schools, and their impact on partner institutions, practitioners and learners

  2. Models of partnership working in the education sector and their impact on partner institutions, practitioners and learners

  3. United Kingdom and International Models of partnership working

  4. Effective ITT Partnerships: the core components

A summary of key findings is presented at the end of sections 2, 3 and 4 and some recommendations, are put forward at the end of section 5.

The methodology used to conduct this review is described in section 6.



Italicised words and phrases denote terminology and quotes which have been extracted directly from source material and the Harvard convention of referencing/citation has been adopted throughout



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