Freemen's Launches Counterpoint Project
Freemen's School has partnered with Achievement for All (AfA) to launch the 'Counterpoint: Independent and State Schools Working in Harmony' initiative.
At the end of January, Freemen's School launched the Counterpoint Project at an event in London's Guildhall with 50 leading influencers from the education, business and social mobility sectors. The School has collaborated with AfA, a leading not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with schools to improve outcomes for all children vulnerable to underachievement. The aim of the collaboration is to help improve relationships between state and independent schools and close the unacceptable gaps at all levels of the education system.
The initiative will encompass a national two year pilot, based on the AfA framework, in up to 20 independent schools each partnered with two to five maintained schools and businesses to improve leadership, teaching and learning; parent and carer engagement; community and social understanding; and educational outcomes for all children and young people. Counterpoint will broker partnerships with schools, through HMC, Society of Heads, Independent Schools Association, Girls’ School Association, Local Authorities, Multi-Academy Trusts and Academy Chains to have an agreed programme in place to start in September 2018.
There is personal motivation behind the project with both Sonia Blandford and Freemen’s Headmaster, Roland Martin, coming from socio-economically challenged backgrounds:
“I was – like Sonia – one of those kids ‘born to fail’ who was given an opportunity to attend an independent school on a free place as a scholar," says Roland Martin. "Independent schools are a four letter word at the moment, but every independent school I have worked in has a very sincere social conscience. Last year, £362 million was given by schools to fund bursaries in their schools. We are not so good at measuring outcomes, however. We can learn from the maintained sector and Sonia’s work. It is a great pleasure to be working with AfA in the hope that our work in Counterpoint through the sector will be transformative for young people’s lives across the country.”
The pilot will be subject to a deep dive Social Impact Assessment evaluating elements of engagement. The joint venture has three principal aims:
- To develop inclusive practice and increase social mobility nationally based on AfA programmes involving leaders, teachers, carers and pupils;
- To engage in local outreach and partnership within community, business and schools;
- Implement a national pilot based on AfA programmes in 20 independent schools to improve the future life chances of all children and young people.
Further information on the project can be found here.