University of Glasgow and Irvine Royal Academy launch 'Partner School' initiative

Published: 20 February 2012

Irvine Royal Academy will be officially unveiled as a University of Glasgow ‘Partner School’ at 0915 on Tuesday 21 February 2012.

Irvine Royal Academy will be officially unveiled as a University of Glasgow ‘Partner School’ at 0915 on Tuesday 21 February 2012.  

The Principal of the University of Glasgow, Professor Anton Muscatelli, will join the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell MSP, and North Ayrshire Councillor John Bell in launching the partnership.  

Building on the highly successful and pioneering pilot scheme currently operating in Glasgow, the Irvine Royal Academy initiative will see student teachers and academics based full-time at the North Ayrshire school. As well as studying and teaching, they will also take part in 'learning rounds', similar to the long-established practice of teaching hospitals, at Irvine Royal Academy and its ‘cluster’ primary schools.

The aim is to create an innovative, integrated and rounded approach to the theory and practice of teaching, breaking with the current tradition of classroom study within the university, followed by blocks of time on secondment at different schools.  

Irvine Royal Academy Professor James Conroy of the School of Education at the University of Glasgow said:  "This is a new and hugely exciting model of teacher education that we are convinced will lead to more robust and dynamic links between the University and local schools. We are enormously grateful to colleagues in North Ayrshire Council but also to Glasgow City Council who supported and extended the initial pilot.

"Our partnership with Irvine Royal Academy will see student teachers placed with their university tutors in the school, where they will continue to learn through tutorials and seminars. But key to the success of the project will be the focus on 'learning rounds', where staff and other students observe each other in a real teaching environment."

Stirling Mackie, Head Teacher of Irvine Royal Academy said: "We are delighted and very proud to be named as a ‘University Partner School’ and in particular to be associated with one of the top one hundred universities in the world. Having been a very successful national pilot school for ‘learning rounds’ three years ago, the 'fit' between us and the new teaching model could not be better.

"We also believe it will lead to raised standards of learning and teaching for all of the young people in Irvine Royal Academy. Being a University of Glasgow Partner school will also help us in raising the aspirations of our young people to see further and higher education as a natural next step in their educational journey."

The Partner School initiative has the full backing of North Ayrshire Council. Councillor John Bell, spokesperson for Children’s Services said: "The Council is delighted to welcome the partnership between Irvine Royal Academy and the University of Glasgow. It is an acknowledgement of the progress being made at the school. I am confident that the partnership will prove a great success and will be of benefit to everybody involved, from the staff and pupils of the school to the students and lecturers."

The formal launch of the University of Glasgow/ Irvine Royal Academy Partner School will be made by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell MSP who said:  “It is a great pleasure to offer my support for the Partner School Initiative between the University of Glasgow and Irvine Royal Academy and its local primary schools.

"We are committed to supporting the development of a highly skilled workforce and I am confident that this truly innovative model of partnership will be of great value to pupils and teachers in the schools involved and, importantly, to the student teachers learning the profession here. Credit is due to all partners involved in this initiative and I will maintain a close interest in how the partnership develops and how the potential benefits of the model may be replicated not only by the University of Glasgow but also by other teacher education universities."

The Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Professor Anton Muscatelli also welcomed the initiative. "This announcement, building on the already well established success of pilot schemes that the University of Glasgow is running in collaboration with Glasgow City Council, is an excellent example of innovation in practice. The project will benefit our students and staff, the teaching community within the schools and, most importantly, the young people who attend Irvine Royal Academy."

First published: 20 February 2012