Head Says School Partnerships Are "moral imperative" - AMCIS

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Head Says School Partnerships Are “moral imperative”

Headmaster Geoffrey Stanford (RGS Newcastle) delivered an inspiring keynote address outlining his school’s educational philosophy and its profound impact on the North-eastern community during the recent AMCIS 2024 Annual Conference.

Speaking to over 300 delegates working in independent school admissions, marketing and communications roles, the RGS Newcastle Head – whose school was recently named Independent School of the Year – emphasised his school’s commitment to its charitable objectives, rooted in supporting life across the Northeast of England.

“Winning the category for outstanding educational partnerships reaffirmed our dedication to serving our community,” he remarked. “We view our bursaries and state school partnerships not just part of our charitable objectives but also as a moral imperative.”

The presentation shed light on the educational challenges faced by the Northeast, including high levels of deprivation and systemic issues affecting educational attainment, and how RGS Newcastle plays a part in overcoming their impact on the region’s children.

The positive impact of RGS Newcastle’s efforts is evident in the overwhelming support from parents and the broader community, with 98% expressing support for the school’s bursary program and partnership initiatives.

“Our focus is not just on numbers but on creating meaningful collaborations that drive positive change,” remarked Headmaster Stanford, whose school leverages external funding to take specialist partnership teachers into schools where they can make a difference through inspiring children as well as collaborating with teachers, upskilling non-specialists in, for example, maths, physics, robotics and computer science.

He said: “Through our partnership projects, we aim to uplift schools and educators, particularly in areas facing recruitment challenges or resource constraints.”

The presentation emphasised the importance of impact measurement and a transparent approach to partnership work. A social impact review published by the school provided insights into the breadth and depth of its projects across various schools and communities.

Looking to the future, Geoffrey Stanford expressed optimism about the potential for systemic impact and the role of independent schools in becoming “part of the solution rather than being seen as the problem”. He emphasised the importance of staying agile in the face of challenges such as changing technology, demographic shifts, and the uncertainty surrounding Labour’s VAT on fees policy.

Stanford concluded with a call to action for independent schools to collaborate with educators, policymakers, and industry leaders to create sustainable solutions that address the evolving needs of children and their communities, and particularly those where deprivation has a negative impact on learning and achievement.

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