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School-University Partnerships Initiative

What do school students understand about ‘the what’, ‘the who’ and ‘the why’ of research?

How can taking part in research activities enrich pupils' experience of the curriculum, inspire them and raise their aspirations?

Funded by Research Councils UK the School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI) supports 12 universities to work in partnership with local schools to develop more effective engagements between researchers and pupils. SUPI projects are seeking to inspire a broader range of pupils to develop inquiring minds, by engaging them in a diversity of exciting hands-on research related activities. Researchers and teachers also benefit by sharing their expertise and resources, and through opportunities to enhance and develop their skills. As well as enriching the curriculum, the ultimate aim of SUPI is to motivate young people to be excited about research and raise their aspirations for further study and future lives. 

The NCCPE is working with the 12 SUPI projects to develop effective practice in this important area, and share learning with the wider sector. We are also working with other organisations supporting similar initiatives, to ensure we learn together and maximise the value of the work being done.

Why is it important to develop effective school-university partnership working?

  • Benefits for Pupils
    • Pupils are encouraged to develop inquiring minds and, potentially, to engage more deeply in their studies. Through interacting with university researchers, they can learn more about the researcher role and the contribution of research to society – including leading edge developments in research techniques and discoveries. This can influence a young person’s choice to go on to future study or pursue a research-based career.
  • Benefits for Researchers
    • Researchers get a chance to develop and practise their engagement and ‘teaching’ skills and to share and evolve their research with young people and with teachers. Through partnership activities they can witness first-hand the teacher ‘in action’ and benefit from teachers’ pedagogical expertise and experience.
  • Benefits for Teachers
    • Teachers benefit from the external resources and input that universities can provide. Partnering with researchers bring opportunities to co-develop activities that both enrich the curriculum and enhance the learning and teaching experience. Teachers may also take up associated opportunities to update their subject knowledge, develop researcher skills or pursue other CPD avenues. 

Collaborating for Success: Inspiring Inquiring Minds Gathering

On 12 November 2014, SUPI project coordinators, teachers, researchers, evaluators, funders and external organisations came together to share learning and explore what makes collaboration between schools and universities work. This film explores some of the aims of the Initiative and the event, in addition to highlighting the work of several projects involved.