Collaboration and Federation

Collaborative working includes partnership working of all kinds between schools, from informal partnerships, through sharing staff and/or services, to amalgamation. This can take place between maintained schools of different categories – community, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, foundation and special schools – and of different age ranges.  

There are three specific types of collaborative working:

Collaboration: formal partnerships with a strategic governance group across the partnership making policy decisions. Schools frequently share headteacher/s. (This has previously been referred to as ‘soft federation’, ‘formal collaboration’ or ‘confederation’.)

Federation: a formal and legal agreement to bring together two or more governing bodies

Amalgamation: the creation of a single school from two or more schools

At its simplest, collaborative working is two or more schools working together to the mutual benefit of their pupils with the overall aim of improving outcomes for all. This has the potential to broaden opportunities and contribute to efficiencies - it is important for governors to keep collaborative working in their sights.

The LA has produced guidance to support Governors and Headteachers to proactively explore a range of collaborative models. It is recommended that the audit is completed prior to any formal discussions taking place with the LA.

There are specific arrangements that Governing Bodies can enter into which are governed by legislation that are detailed below under Collaboration and Federation.

Working together delivers benefits to schools at many levels, particularly in relation to their governance.

Useful downloads

Audit Tool

Collaboration Toolkit

Federation Toolkit

A Guide to Models of Collaborative Working (Collaborations, Federations and Amalgamations)