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Building a partnership

An insight into the first year of the Cheltenham Partnership.

Published: 21 April 2022

In September 2021, the Ogden Cheltenham Partnership officially started under the leadership of Matthew Squire, STEM Co-ordinator at Cleeve School. The partnership includes one other local secondary school and four primary schools with a principle focus on strengthening partnerships between the schools and building a love of learning in science. They intend to support curriculum teaching and extra-curricular opportunities in science to encourage curiosity and engagement. This year, Matthew has an Ogden time buy-out as part of the partnership giving him the capacity to develop an active programme of activities and to build a sound foundation from which the partnership can grow. Matthew tells us more.

I wanted to start a partnership primarily to support the development of science in primary school. Science is a subject full of wonder and curiosity and too often pupils are finding themselves switched off from it before they reach secondary school where they consider it too hard. The time buy-out has allowed me to get into primary schools on a regular basis and bring with it my science expertise. My message to pupils is simple, everyone can do science; go home and talk about what you have seen or experienced with your family.

I have already established regular communication between the schools and we have set up our termly partnership meetings. The first set of primary Phizzi CPD has already taken place at Cleeve School with all four of the primary schools in attendance. I also had an opportunity to join them for the afternoon to experience Jenny [Watson – Ogden regional rep] and her amazing training for myself.

I have been able to use my partnership time to organise and run lots of events in this first year and to build good relations with schools in the partnership. Looking ahead we will try to build on this foundation, sharing more responsibilities across the schools once my time buy-out has ended.  The channels of communication and processes that have now been established will hopefully help the partnership to grow – inspiring, enthusing and enabling our young learners throughout their education and beyond.

model cars racing towards a finish line on the floor

The schools involved have benefitted from a bespoke programme of support to enrich their experience of science. Using the TBO to get out into primary schools and support teaching and learning has given each of the school an involved experience. The impact on the pupils has been huge, it is great to hear the pupils excitedly saying “It’s the science man” as I turn up at their schools in the morning carrying an armful of practical equipment.

The Ogden Trust has made all of this possible. Their funding has benefitted hundreds of pupils in this year alone which is going to continue to grow and develop as they move from primary into secondary school. I would encourage others to set up a partnership and experience the support offered by the Ogden Trust. My advice would be to take up the offer of the time buy-out in the first year to develop the partnership so that the following years you have everything put in place. The time is invaluable to set up a cohesive partnership.

Cheltenham Partnership events

This year, we have run a number of events to build excitement around science. We have already held star gazing sessions with the partnership primary and secondary schools; sharing the Cleeve School telescope for the events, and with the help of a local STEM ambassador, pupils were able to see close-up images of the Moon, Jupiter and constellations. It was incredible for pupils to see this for themselves, a book can’t offer the same experience.

a group of children are pictured with a telescope

During January and February, I ran the ‘F1 in Schools STEM Challenge’ at the partnership primary schools which saw teams design and build a model Formula One car and then compete to find the fastest in each school. We are currently lining up a date where the winning cars from each school will compete for a season winner! Each day was really exciting, with the pupils learning about forces, aerodynamics and air resistance. After a day of building and designing, the pupils excitement hit peak when they finally got to race. All the pupils involved loved taking part, it was a day of science taught in a different way.

I have also used my partnership time to provide British Science Week (BSW) assemblies and primary school science days to get more children involved in a hands-on BSW experience. Cleeve School has also hosted the Explorer Dome for other schools in the partnership – more than 150 primary and secondary pupils attended these sessions which really captured the imagination of the solar system, galaxies and into the wider universe.

Secondary pupils have also taken part in a partnership Solar Car Day from Kohler. This interactive STEM challenge to design, build and race a solar powered car was enjoyed by 40 enthusiastic Year 8 and Year 9 pupils, including a high uptake of pupil premium students. Year 10 partnership students took part in a lecture from Severn Trent Water on water treatment, which will help to build towards GCSE science curriculum.

Students seated in an auditorium for a lecture on water treatment

Applications for new partnerships open annually in September. To find out more about the funding and support available, visit our partnership pages on this website

A local cluster partnership (a group of four or more schools within a local area) can apply for up to £2,500 per academic year for the first three years and up to £1,000 in the fourth year for partnership activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. A further grant of up to £250 is available as partnerships move into their legacy phase. In the first year, partnership co-ordinators are awarded a time buy-out giving them half a day a week to build relationships across the cluster and establish the partnership.

An established collaboration partnership (a group of four or more schools associated through a multi-academy trust (MAT), MAC, federation, educational trust, etc) can apply for up to £2,000 per academic year for the first three years and £1,000 in the fourth year for activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. The partnership lead is eligible for up to two years of time buy-out to support the partnership.

Partnerships receive support from Ogden regional representatives and teachers at all partnership schools can access Ogden CPD from Early Years Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 3.


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