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Southwark Schools' Learning Partnership 2020/21

Southwark Schools Learning Partnership (SSLP) is a collaboration between local secondary schools. The partnership promotes projects for students and CPD (Career Professional Development) for staff.

Dr Joe Spence and Catherine May, Head Teacher of St Saviour’s & St Olave’s CE School, are co-directors of the partnership, providing leadership in connecting schools, teachers and students. We also organise a variety of SSLP projects and employ a coordinator to help enhance their impact.

The SSLP priorities for 2020/21 were to enhance student voice and to encourage a partnership-wide conversation about race and racism in education. With all the opportunities we developed this year, we considered these priorities and how they could be central to our planning and delivery.

Our partnership was spotlighted on the ISC website in May 2021.

Dulwich College opportunities developed exclusively with our SSLP partners in mind:

Connecting Schools...
These opportunities give schools access to something that would be difficult to achieve alone.

Thinking About... is a joint project between Dulwich College and the SSLP which ran on Tuesday afternoons over the course of the year, and is coordinated by Sue Mulholland, Director of Free-Learning and our Local Partnerships Coordinator, Katie Barretta. Each week we welcomed a different guest speaker to present via Zoom webinar to Year 11+ students. Over the 24-week series we attracted 1,257 live viewers (students, staff and parents) - an additional 57 students took on a leading host role. Alleyn's School, James Allen's Girls' School, Kingsdale Foundation School, Queen's College London and St Saviour's & St Olave's have all hosted a talk on behalf of the SSLP, and students from these schools plus St Michael's Catholic College, The Charter School East Dulwich, The Charter School North Dulwich, The Elmgreen School, UAE South Bank and Westminster City School have all co-hosted with Dulwich College. Our most popular talk was David Lammy MP thinking about Identity. Other popular talks were Professor Duncan Wheeler thinking about Spanish National Cultures, Lord Peter Hain thinking about Sport and Apartheid and Daniel Hanna OA thinking about Sustainable Finance. Many of the recordings can be accessed via the SSLPs YouTube channel.

One of the first activities we organised this year was a Pathetique Sonata Online Lesson... John Carnelley, Deputy Director of Music (Academic) and Luis Parés, Head of Keyboard, used Zoom to lead an interactive session and in-depth study of this set work for GCSE students, which included the history/development of the piano, listening and appraising group activities, and a structural analysis with an annotated score. The lesson was open to all Year 10 & 11 music classes from SSLP schools. The recording is available to watch on the SSLP Music Hub webpage, where supporting materials can also be found.

Our final activity of the year was the Young Economists' Conference in July. James Wisson, Head of Economics, ran a virtual conference made up of five virtual sessions. Guests speakers discussed the financial markets post covid-19, behavioural economics and it is used in public policy and the importance of comprehensive wealth. There was a panel discussion about careers and a workshop competition session. Around 250 students were involved during the day.

Oxbridge Interviews... Dulwich College completed 45 mock-Oxbridge interviews for applicants from SSLP state schools in December 2020. Having a mock interview with an unfamiliar expert in their chosen subject, really helps SSLP applicants prepare for their Oxbridge interviews. We also held Mock Multiple-Mini-Interviews for 12 students applying for medicine degrees, each student received seven 5-minute interviews within an hour. Twenty five SSLP students were successful with their applications.

Connecting Teachers...
These opportunities provided teachers from SSLP schools access to events that would allow them to interact with others from the partnership.

Middle Leader Professional Development... together with James Allen's Girls School we have sponsored a series of four professional development sessions for new and aspiring middle leaders from SSLP schools. More than 50 teachers from fourteen SSLP schools signed up and over 40 participated in at least 3 of the 4 online sessions. Although we haven't been able to meet in person, the Zoom meeting functionality has allowed teachers to hear from professional trainers and to meet peers from other schools virtually in breakout rooms.

SSLP Counsellors Hub... our school counsellor Jo Ray has lead a growing network of counsellors working in SSLP schools. They are meeting two to three times a year to discuss locally available support and to share best practice, this has been especially important during a year shaped by the pandemic.

Connecting Students...
These opportunities allow students from multiple SSLP schools to work together as equals on a joint aim.

Beginner's Arabic... we have been hosting weekly Arabic lessons for students from other SSLP schools for several years, but this year we were forced to take the lessons online. Rather than stifling the enthusiasm of students we had a record amount of interest with students finding the Zoom lessons more accessible than travelling to Dulwich College. Two students continued their learning right through to the end of the summer term.

Entrepreneurs Networking... our OA networking event on 12th November was opened up to older pupils from Dulwich College and other SSLP schools giving them all an opportunity to hear from and to meet potential mentors and future collaborators.

Guest speakers... using online technology we have still been able to welcome external guests to speak to our clubs and societies, and some of these have been opened to interested students from other schools. For instance Modern Languages and your Career was a virtual talk by Martin Hamilton, a forensic accountant, who eliminated doubt about whether modern languages can influence or improve your career. Later in November Kate Davis, an artist who works across a range of media, including film/video, drawing, printmaking, installation and bookworks, talked to SSLP art & design staff and students about using art to reconsider what certain histories could look, sound and feel like. During the Spring term we invited SSLP schools to join our Sport In Mind webinars, which included speakers such as Henry Fraser OA, Mark Lovell and Captain Louis Rudd. Our online Careers Convention also attracted participants from other schools with the How to write a personal statement and the University Panel proving very popular. Recordings of many of our talks are now available to SSLP and other schools.

As a partnership of equals Dulwich College recognises it is just as important to participate in SSLP projects as to host them for others.

This year the SSLP is focusing on the issue of race with an SSLP Anti-Racism Project. Our staff and students actively participated in the Anti-Racism conference in November, led by St Saviour's & St Olave's school. The keynote speaker was Ndu Uchea OA who founded Word on the Curb. Students were split in to four cluster groups during the spring term allowing Dulwich College students to work with peers from Elmgreen School and Ark Evelyn Grace Academy. Together each cluster produced a short Anti-Racism film and a lesson plan that can be used in schools to spark a facilitated conversation about race with year 8 classes.

Music classes at Dulwich College submitted 5-second audio and visual recording to the BBB-Beethoven project run by JAGS. The submissions were edited into a montage tribute to Beethoven's 5th symphony and released on his 250th birthday.

Keen photographers from both our staff and student bodies have committed to the SSLP Photography project which is a five-month competition where students and staff, in their own categories, enter one picture per month in response to a theme. We had several winners across the competition.

One of the newer SSLP members is Queen's College London. It was a pleasure for our creative writers to join their Digital Poetry Workshops where we heard directly from the poet and activist Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan.

In May we entered three teams in the Sixth Form Science Quiz hosted by The Charter School East Dulwich and Alleyn's School. This was the first year the competition was held online and we were delighted that one of our teams won the trophy for the first time.

To learn more about the SSLP contact:

Katie Barretta

SSLP Co-ordinator

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"I really enjoyed the format of this session, especially that it was led by students, and expertly so."
Thinking About attendee
"I really loved this talk, the presenter was great and the slide show interesting. I found out things I didn't know and how to explore more. Thank you I look forward to the next one."Thinking About attendee
"I just finished both interviews and I think they went reasonable well. I talked about port-war housing as you advised. Thanks so much for all your help it made me feel a lot more confident."Oxbridge applicant
"A really good session with lots of ideas, good ways to overcome the virtual delivery barrier and a good mix of interactive/video with lecture-style sections."Professional Development attendee
"I will strive to change the social norms in our society to make sure that people stop being casually racist."Anti-Racism Conference attendee