The Wood Foundation’s Excelerate network is set to welcome seven additional North-east schools in the 2021/22 academic year.

They will join the first cohort of schools – Banff, Alford, Portlethen, and Kemnay Academies – in benefitting from immersive professional learning experiences and structural support in order to better realise the potential of innovative, partnership-driven teaching models.

Ali MacLachlan, UK Director of The Wood Foundation, shares the learning from the past 18 months and the continued ambition for the network:

“It is incredibly exciting to be in a position to expand the Excelerate network having seen the early successes and continued growth and ambition in our first cohort of schools.

“We are committed to transformational system change that is context-driven, inclusive, empowering, and motivating. We are incredibly proud to see our years of research, development, and ambition come to life in this way.

“Our hopes and potential for this investment are constantly evolving. We have learned an incredible amount in the past 18 months with our first cohort of schools which will shape how we engage our new schools and deepen the relationship with our existing schools.

“During a period where education faced unparalleled challenge, our schools realised the opportunity for change. Engaging virtually has brought limitations, absolutely, but it has also opened up the world in a way like never before. What we worried would be constraints for the embedding of our investment, have been reimagined by our schools committed to success.

“Excelerate is not a prescribed programme of activity. It is not a one-off intervention or a siloed body of work. It incorporates culture, innovation, distributive leadership, empowerment, powerful partnerships, community connections, revised structures, and new pedagogical approaches. We want to push the perceived boundaries of our curricular frameworks to ensure young people are benefitting from a school career that shapes them with the experiences, exposures, platforms, space, and time to develop the skills they need to be successful adults.

“This approach should not feel radical, but it does. It is about giving education the overdue opportunity to catch up with wider society and the economy which have innovation, progress, and partnerships at their core.

“This work is not an add-on to addressing key drivers and educational priorities schools, it is a way to maximise the opportunities of these frameworks.

“We started with four schools; we are about to grow to double figures.Within five years, we have ambition to be active in 25 school communities. We want to prove that across all demographics and contexts that the principles of innovation, collaboration, and partnerships can support all students to realise their own potential – whatever pathway they choose.”

The new partner schools will be formally announced in August.