Professional Development

School-university partnerships – fulfilling the potential

Graham Handscomb explores the contribution of school-university partnerships to professional learning and the features that can help to make them more effective.
Teachers walking through corridor

Autonomy AND partnership. 

We live in an era which places a great premium on school-led; school controlled professional development. There is now a considerable consensus that the professional learning which has most meaning and makes the greatest difference is when it is clearly linked to teaching and learning and with a focus on improving classroom practice.  This also resonates with the powerful movement towards increased school autonomy, self-improvement and collaboration.  This emphasised, among others things, the range and depth of professional development expertise available within schools and the benefits to be gained from collaboratively marshalling this resource.  Schools were to be the means of their own salvation, free from external authority constraints.  Many commentators noted a marked shift in Government policy which struck “a startling new note,” observing that “the improvement of schools … rests primarily with them – not the government, local or central. The aim should be to create a self-improving system” (Hargreaves, 2011). 

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