Southwark Schools Learning Partnership

Southwark Schools Learning Partnership (SSLP) is a unique collaboration between ten schools - seven from the maintained sector and the three Dulwich Foundation Schools, Dulwich College, JAGS and Alleyn's. The partnership runs a series of projects for students and joint Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teaching staff and Dulwich College plays a significant part in shaping and delivering this important work.

The SSLP arose from a DfES/London Challenge project for cross-sector working, aimed at raising levels of students’ engagement and achievements whilst also providing professional development for staff. It was set up in October 2003 by its then two Directors, Dr Irene Bishop CBE, the then Head of St Saviour’s & St Olave’s CE School and Marion Gibbs CBE, the then Head of James Allen’s Girls’ School. Grainne Grabowski of St Michael's Catholic College and Dr Joe Spence of Dulwich College are the current co-directors of SSLP.

The broad aims of the partnership are:

  • For staff and students from schools in both sectors to work together to develop innovative practice and to share and broaden their experience in order to improve teaching and learning in the SSLP schools
  • To raise student achievement by enhancing students’ involvement in their own learning and by helping teachers to develop models of highly effective teaching
  • To produce research which will usefully inform the debate about factors which improve levels of achievement for students from different backgrounds in inner-city schools

Dulwich College provides a member of staff who acts as the main link for SSLP and a further five members of staff regularly contribute to SSLP events with additional involvement from a wide pool of staff and students.

For maintained-sector members of SSLP, the College facilitated five applications for Stuart Horne Bursaries and enabled the participation of students in a summer school at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) run by the Particle Physics Department at Liverpool University.

Over the past year Dulwich College hosted:

  • We also provide Oxbridge practice interviews for a number of local schools in and beyond SSLP
  • The second Liberty Schools Conference for Sixth Formers; Drama workshops on ‘How to Write about Theatre’ led by theatre critic Mark Fisher; and Science events
  • A five-month project 'Variations on a Theme' saw the artist and sculptor Peter Randall-Page RA working with Sixth Form Art students from The Charter School and Dulwich College, with a resultant exhibition and evening presentation
  • A Dulwich College collaboration with Dulwich Picture Gallery and My Start/Film Aid International produced an exhibition of works by young refugees in North West Kenya and inaugurated a series of workshops for SSLP students
  • Through its longstanding contact with the Universidad Católica de Valencia, Dulwich College provided eight Spanish graduate interns to SSLP schools

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“I was delighted to receive the formal feedback from teachers, facilitators and pupils. There was a wonderful buzz about the event and it was heartening listening to so many bright young people from our different schools thinking about issues that take them way beyond their GCSE and A level syllabuses.”
Dr Joe Spence on the Liberty Schools Conference.

‘’Excellent and engaging case studies that are relevant to current affairs...I would love to attend a similar event in the future. I particularly enjoyed the presence of multiple schools.’’ Feedback from Liberty Conference.

“The workshop was great for a student at A level as it gave me a chance to be more free with my work and allowed me to experiment with techniques I had never considered before.”
Rory, 'Variations on a Theme' student

‘’It's about educational projects, self-generated or carefully taken on from third parties, and it's all about the aspiration of the pupils and the CPD of teachers; the pupils get a sense of teachers’ learning in being part of SSLP.’’
Dr Joe Spence