Nationally, 12 universities were funded to work with local schools to investigate how successful partnerships could be created and maintained, and each has found different ways to address the call. In Southampton, Talk to US! - hosted by the Southampton Education School - focused on 6 STEM-based disciplines some of which had existing engagement programs that they wanted to enhance and some of which started from scratch. The guide book was developed as part of the Talk to US! project and is based on the findings in the evaluation of its sub-projects.
The guide book is intended to both enable university staff to initiate partnerships working with local schools and to aid school staff in making contact with a university they wish to engage with. The partnership is based around the creation of an initial activity. Ideally this activity will be planned in response to discussions between school and university staff to identify any mutual needs that can be met by partnership working.
As well as the online version, the team have distributed over 500 hard copies of the guide book internationally. The guide has been cited in a journal article submitted for publication and Southampton is planning to use it as the basis for a researcher training programme, with the help of local teachers and their PGCE team.