York Independent State School Partnership (ISSP) is an equal partnership of 12 secondary schools – 9 state schools and 3 independent schools.
The partnership was initiated in 2006 when Jonathan Taylor, then Head of Bootham School, approached Patrick Scott, then Head of Educational Services at York City Council, to explore possible shared activities between all of the City’s schools. A bid written by Tricia Ellison, then Senior Advisor for York LA, and Jonathan Taylor, was successful in gaining significant funds from the government’s first scheme for encouraging such partnerships.
York ISSP started a programme of master classes for the most able students across the city in the spring of 2008 with the aim of providing academic challenge through opportunities which schools cannot provide alone. Subsequently, our annual master classes have been a highly-regarded mainstay of the partnership. In addition, our activities have included twilight training sessions for teachers, one-off conferences for students on leadership, global citizenship and so on, presentations on career aspirations, and an oft-repeated competition for entrepreneurs.
The three independent schools have provided Latin GCSE to students from maintained schools where it is not on the curriculum. Since September 2015 we have also had an additional GCSE Latin class (taught in one of the state schools) in order to cope with increasing demand. In September 2016 we started a GCSE Astronomy course for those passionate about this subject. In 2016 we ran our fourth summer school for Year 7&8 pupils, and also in 2016 our third residential course in the October half term, combining intellectual explorations with outdoor education challenge.
In 2015, the Partnership made a successful bid for government funding offered to enhance Maths teaching in primary schools through ISSP projects. With St Peter’s and Knavesmire Primary School taking the lead, this project involved six York primary schools.