Case Study of Innovative Industry Schools Twinning Programme - Stakeholder Partnership in a Learning City

Tool type(s): 
Organisational Development
Examples of Good Practice: 
Active Citizenship
Examples of Good Practice: 
Case studies
Examples of Good Practice: 
Employability and Future Skills
Examples of Good Practice: 
Stakeholder Involvement
Target Sector(s): 
Schools
Target Sector(s): 
Industry
Europe-wide?: 
Yes

In a Learning Region schools and companies will play their part as stakeholders in helping it grow. The following is a case study of a schools/industry 'twinning' scheme in which industry provided expertise and resource to help children and teachers achieve their goals - and where the school helped people in the company to understand more about modern education.

The attached document shows a selection of joint projects resulting from this innovative liaison

The IBM/Woodberry Down Twinning Scheme

Woodberry Down, an inner city school, had a rich ethnic mix within its catchment area and a high proportion of one-parent families. It is situated in a difficult area of inner London with an unenviable local crime record, where only the suicidal policemen patrol alone at night and where there is very little background of learning, never mind lifelong learning. By contrast, the city location of the mighty IBM, 3 miles away is situated in one of the richest areas in the world, employs 700 highly trained professional people – systems analysts, salesmen, managers, experts on all aspects of computing, many of them commuting in from their four-bedroomed houses with large garden in the more affluent suburbs of London.

These two apparently incompatible organizations began to explore how one could help the other. So meetings were held at both places and a social evening arranged. As a result of this a coordinator, actually the wife of one of the IBM managers, former social worker, was employed to see what could be done. She talked at length with the staff of the school and with the managers in the IBM location and how the skills and knowledge of one could be used to improve the situation of the other. The results of this collaboration produced 30 different projects affecting individuals in both establishments.

For example, a trust fund for school visits was started, so that the handicapped children in the school could spend a week at a study centre in the countryside in mid-Wales. In return those same children created a huge collage from cuttings and computer pieces, which was installed in the foyer of the IBM location, and used as a talking point for visitors to the company. Example two concerned the unlikely subject of opera. IBM was sponsoring a new production at the Covent Garden Opera House, so it arranged with the company to run an opera workshop for children at the school. The children were bowled over. They committed suicide like Tosca, they fought with the soldiers in Aida, they swooned like Mimi in La Boheme, they ascended into heaven like Marguerita in The Damnation of Faust – and in that unlikely school an opera club was formed which lasted until the school was closed 10 years later.

The third example is the interviewing scheme. Teams of IBM people went in pairs to the school to run mock interviews with senior pupils to help make them more employable and to give them some hints on how to get a job. Again this was a fun event much appreciated by the students and much enjoyed by the participants from IBM, who also learned a great deal.

No-one can expect a 100% response to such schemes. In total 10 percent of the 700 IBM people, that is 70 sets of additional skills, talents, knowledge and expertise, became involved in partnerships with teachers and staff on such items as curriculum reform, management and leadership, language and computer education. It is an example of what a productive partnership can do for a school and a company. This was a two-way communications exercise breaking down stereotypes, producing new insights into the needs of a 21st century school and providing a huge new resource.

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