The Loughborough Primary Academy Partnership (LPAP) was formed in 2012 when local primary schools decided to work more closely together. Most of the schools in the group were in the process of converting to Single Academy Trusts and sought to forge a partnership of challenge and support to replace the local authority’s framework.

What does LPAP do? To give a strategic overview of the nine schools, Chairs of Governors, Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers meet at regular intervals across the year.  A review of the strategic plans for the collaboration is annually undertaken, identifying external support as needed, either locally or nationally.

One of the most successful collaborative activities has been the quality assurance work undertaken by LPAP.  The Headteachers work in groups to monitor and evaluate each other’s work. This begins in the Autumn term with a review of the School’s self-evaluation and annual Improvement Plan.  Subsequent discussions result in a report shared with individual governing bodies, which offers a professional critique of the current educational provision and standards in each school. Quality assurance extends to an examination of teaching and learning, through book trawls, pupil interviews and focused Learning Walks. Headteachers ensure that they allow time for observation, examination and discussion, which result in a deeper understanding of each school. This leads to valuable feedback.

The success of the strategic group meetings has been mirrored by the School Business Managers, EYFS, and SENDCo leads. Their regular meetings provide invaluable mutual support. Support from more experienced colleagues has helped new staff ease into their role. Examples of best practice resulting from these networks have been; joint procurement of legal and accounting services; joint employment of an Educational Psychologist; Baseline and Framework implementation support for EYFS.

Other groups are commissioned on an annual basis resulting from the strategic meetings, identifying current needs of the partnership and considering the current educational landscape. Headteachers and governors are happy to support this development as it benefits the staff, and ultimately the children of all LPAP schools.

Why is LPAP successful? Its size means that it is small enough to focus on the children in the schools without the distractions of unnecessary procedure and bureaucracy. It enables a network of careful balance between professional relationships based on trust to become established and challenge that provokes improvement. LPAP has provided a flexible framework for the schools to flourish and grow within the context of a changing educational landscape. The outcomes for all learners across the partnership remains sharply in focus and drives all LPAP activities.