SIX state and independent schools have united in a new partnership to open up opportunities and improve mental health support.

Abingdon School, Fitzharrys, John Mason School, Larkmead, Radley College, and St Helen and St Katharine have worked together on an informal basis over the last five years with that now formalised.

The OX14 Learning Partnership was officially unveiled for the schools, which are all in the Abingdon area, at the Guildhall in the town.

The aims of the partnership are to increase opportunities, and offer improved mental health and wellbeing support.

Oxford Mail: Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran joined school leaders to formalise the OX14 Learning Partnership. Picture: Abingdon SchoolOxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran joined school leaders to formalise the OX14 Learning Partnership. Picture: Abingdon School

Jonathan Dennett, headteacher at Larkmead School, told pupils, teachers and governors at the launch: “As a school leader in Abingdon for 16 years, I have seen the benefits of partnership across the state and independent sector.

“These relationships have seen students delivering lessons and activities in each other’s schools, teachers sharing planning and inspiration and colleagues joining governing bodies across the town.

“If you’re looking for a metaphor, the partnership has taught young people to swim and lead others down to the boathouse.

“With the context of those many years of working together, the OX14 Partnership represents a significant leap for education in our town.

“Alongside aspiration, widening horizons and developing character, the partnership focuses on coaching, and the mental health and wellbeing of students, staff and parents.

“Our schools and students are a great source of civic pride, and we can all be proud to be part of the OX14 Partnership.”

Oxford Mail: Students together before the partnership was formalised. Picture: Abingdon SchoolStudents together before the partnership was formalised. Picture: Abingdon School

Sarah Brinkley, executive headteacher at Abingdon Learning Trust, added: “We are delighted to continue working with other local schools as part of this partnership.

“We have the same vision, that our children access the best learning opportunities and that our staff excel – OX14 is founded on these principles.

“Peer mentoring across the six schools has already been established, giving students and staff the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas as well as to develop leadership skills.”

Plans for a youth space in collaboration with youth charity, The Abingdon Bridge, are being explored.

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Rebecca Dougall, headmistress at St Helen and St Katharine, said: “This partnership represents a great opportunity for the students and staff in the town of Abingdon to learn from each other, to work together and to support each other.

“We are very proud and excited to be collaborating in a way which improves opportunities for all students.”

Speaking after the launch, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said: “This partnership is fantastic for our local community and cements what has already been happening between schools for many years.

“Sharing knowledge, resources, facilities and expertise between our local schools will help ensure that all students, no matter where they go to school or what they want to do, have the very best opportunities in life.”