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Schools Partnership Programme

At the forefront of collaborative school improvement


The vision for the Schools Partnership Programme (SPP) is to build a sustainable, self-improving, school-led system, in which partnerships of schools share responsibility for both their own improvements and those of others.

Our wealth of experience – both in the UK and globally – has shown that effective school-to-school collaboration takes time and care to develop.

Schools need to develop capabilities with purpose and rigour, to ensure that precious resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible and we can help facilitate success.

In this model, autonomous schools, leaders and educators collaborate across a local area, sharing their expertise, best practices and resources.

SPP has began working with partners in Europe through the UCL Knowledge Exchange between England, Spain, and the Netherlands, further showcasing the versatility of the programme.

Find out more about the UCL Knowledge Exchange

Key points

  • Collaborative and supportive system
  • Enables school-to-school support locally
  • The largest reach of any school-to-school peer review programme in the UK

Get in touch with the Schools Partnership Programme

Benefits of the programme

School leaders and teachers often already have the answers to their most challenging issues. SPP can help unlock these by asking the right questions.

Developed in partnership with and for Schools, SPP provides the essential tools and support to drive their own improvement in an increasingly autonomous school system.

Since 2014, we have worked with over 2,200 schools, 8,800 school leaders and 60 local authorities across England and Wales, as well as the local systems that support them.  We help existing partnerships to:

  • develop a collective will and purpose
  • helping schools to improve each other’s practice.

Our framework and materials

Providing the rigour and structure to help turn school-to-school collaboration into evidence-based action, our framework and materials help schools to deliver improved outcomes for children and young people.

Building capacity in local areas, gives ownership of the model to schools to continue to develop peer review processes, supporting local priorities and enabling school-to-school support.

SPP benefits from Education Development Trust’s global network of partners, making it a distinctive and effective model. It has the largest reach of any school-to-school peer review programme in the UK.

Our insights have been recognised by policymakers and influencing bodies in the UK and beyond.

Our research has gained the attention of both the Scottish and Welsh governments, and the UN Education Commission.


Key findings from EEF's three-year evaluation of school collaboration

Discover insights from Education Endowment Foundation's three-year evaluation of Schools Partnership Programme. One of the largest school improvement evaluations in the UK, looking at the effectiveness and influence of partnership-based peer review.

About the evaluation

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) conducted an evaluation of Schools Partnership Programme involving a total of 422 primary schools. This project is one of the largest research evaluations on the effectiveness of peer review and collaboration on school partnerships, leaders, staff and pupils.

The full report is available for download below.

EEF Evaluation Report


We have also worked with the NAHT in England to contribute to two recent publications:

  1. The principles of effective school-to-school peer reviewand their follow-up report,
  2. Improving Schools.
Benefits of this programme

  • Builds skill in peer review, coaching, non-judgmental enquiry and creating a culture of feedback in schools.
  • Strengthens the degree of challenge and support within and between schools, with a focus on change in practice and improvement.​
  • Builds the capacity and capability of school clusters to lead their own improvement.
  • Provides a coherent and consistent approach to peer review helping to drive continuous improvement. ​
  • It's for everyone. Wherever you are in your improvement journey and whatever your context or phase, SPP can make a difference to outcomes for your pupils.

How SPP works

There are three key phases (which take approximately one year each to complete). These are designed to build the skills of peer review and culture change, to develop a mature partnership or local system.

Phase 1: Build - developing senior leaders

Phase One - allows partnerships of schools to experience the process of identifying, analysing and addressing areas of school improvement within each setting in an open, honest, objective group environment, and adopt joint-practice and accountability.

Our SPP Associates provide the programme of training and support that our partnerships need, to begin to build around the SPP framework.

All programme resources and support materials, including the SPP enquiry questions, are made immediately available to all SPP schools from the start of the programme.

Phase 2: Embed - building capacity

Phase two - provides schools with the opportunity to:

  • reflect on the outcomes of applying this framework, to date
  • further develop their capabilities, embedding peer review into their school improvement systems and making mutual support and collaboration part of their everyday practice.
  • benefit from an established support network and draw on their own experience/that of the wider SPP community, with bespoke training and support available through their SPP Associate.

Build further capacity and improvement, led and sustained by the partnership, as they continue to sharpen their skills through focused, rigorous peer review. 

Phase 3: Sustain - maturing and taking ownership locally

Phase three - partnerships take ownership of their own collaborative journey.

All schools who have completed the SPP programme can continue to access materials and stay up to date with colleagues who are practising peer review nationally.

This focus on sustainability is to:

  • help partnerships to enhance their effectiveness
  • strengthen the national peer review community
  • invite those who are particularly skilled in peer review to become Delivery Partners with the SPP core team.

Discover more