Collaborations ‘the only way forward’ to provide best education, says north Suffolk head

Mendham, Suffolk. Mendham Primary School headteacher Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne who is opening a new nursery at the school in Sept. 2014 ANL-141203-134157001
Mendham, Suffolk. Mendham Primary School headteacher Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne who is opening a new nursery at the school in Sept. 2014 ANL-141203-134157001

The executive headteacher of a federation of north Suffolk schools believes collaborations are “the only way forward” to provide the best possible education.

A recent report, carried out by think-tank Demos, pondered whether non-formal learning could help to build character and close the attainment gap.

Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne, pictured last year.

Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne, pictured last year.

And the Waveney Valley Partnership Federation — a collaboration between St Edmund’s Primary School in Hoxne, Mendham Primary School, and the 1st Fressingfield Scouts — have been used as a case study in the findings.

The partnership allows resources and facilities to be shared, including two minibuses, archery equipment and photocopying services.

The report concludes that various forms of non-formal learning can have a “significant impact” on educational and character outcome, but added there were “significant barriers” in providing a good level of such activities.

Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne, executive head of the schools and scout leader, told the Diss Express: “I know that when the model is not right, and maybe when the people are not right, it might not work as it should do, but I strongly believe that federations and collaborations between schools are the only way forward.

“We always encourage children to participate in the scouting movement, but it is not compulsory. The benefits if you choose to do something have a greater impact rather than being made to do something.

“We have built a successful partnership that is delivering excellent outcomes for our pupils and children.

“There has recently been criticism of School Federations and partnerships in Suffolk but I truly believe we have a model here that works and has improved outcomes and life chances for our pupils.”

Asked about being used as a case study, Mr Aalders-Dunthorne added: “It is always great to be recognised for the work we are doing on the ground. It has always been about the impact on children and making sure the provision both in and out of the class room is absolutely the best if can possibly be, but any recognition is valid and welcome.”