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Unique school partnership celebrates top national award

  • Date

    Fri 27 May 22

School representatives with the award

An innovative partnership that has provided sixth form students across six schools with a greater range of subjects has won a top national award.

The VI6 Partnership is celebrating after picking up a Pearson National Teaching Award in recognition of the collaboration between five schools and the University of Essex.

The partnership was set up to support sixth form subjects where there is traditionally low uptake in any one school.

But, with teachers and students teaming up for lessons held at the University, around 180 students are now benefitting from the unique opportunity.

The partnership incorporates Clacton Coastal Academy, Clacton County High School, Philip Morant School and College, The Colne Community School and College, Thurstable School and the University of Essex.

Neil Gallagher, executive headteacher at Clacton County High School and the Colne Community School, said: “The VI6 partnership is now an integral part of the post-16 offer of all the partnership schools.

“Not only does it allow us to viably deliver post-16 learning in some ‘smaller volume’ subjects, delivered by excellent teachers from across our schools, it is opening really exciting school-to-school, MAT-to-MAT dialogue about learning and teaching.

“Crucially the partnership is actively improving access to higher education for all of our students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and making them understand that university is a realistic option.

“I know many of our students will be the first in their family to access a university education and their time at the University of Essex has really helped raise their aspirations.”

The Outreach team and school representatives with the award)
The Outreach team and school representatives with the award

Lucy Murray, Director of Outreach at the University of Essex, said: “The VI6 project is an important part of our outreach activity with local schools and colleges and we are delighted that it has been recognised with this award.

“As a university, we strive to raise the aspirations of young people with the potential to go to university, regardless of what their background is.

“VI6 demonstrates how, by working together and being innovative, we can all support young people to succeed.”

The partnership gained a Silver Award in recognition of its outstanding commitment to changing the lives of young people by providing increased opportunity and greater success for students.

As a Silver Award winner, VI6 Partnership has now been shortlisted to win one of just 16 Gold Awards later in the year.

The Silver Award winners were honoured as part of the wider celebrations for national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, bringing together everyone across the country to celebrate schools and colleges at the heart of their communities.

Sharon Hague, senior vice president of schools at Pearson UK, said: “Congratulations to the Silver Award winners on their incredible achievement, they should all feel very proud of themselves.

“And thank you to all the incredible educators across this country who really do make our schools and colleges so special."

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