Cockburn School is proud to be involved with many partnerships with a range of external providers, agencies, organisations and businesses. The focus of these partnerships is ultimately upon having a positive impact on our students and students and staff from other schools. This page shares some brief highlights and summaries of some of our many successful partnerships.

Click the boxes below to read more about our partnerships over recent years:


ASDA is a partner company and trustee in The Learning Trust (South Leeds). A number of activities take place each year, particularly the ASDA Business Challenge. In 2013, ASDA worked with Year 9/10 pupils from three Make the Grade schools on an inter-school enterprise competition to design a new ice cream flavour. Following an introductory workshop small teams of pupils designed new flavour proposals, and one team from each of the schools was selected to present its new flavour, packaging, pricing and market research to experts from ASDA House.

The winning team were then given the chance to present to executives at ASDA, with their flavour ‘Orange Moments’ given the green light to be produced by ASDA’s ice cream manufacturer, R&R Ice Cream. The pupils and their fellow competitors were later given a tour of R&R’s production facility to see how their flavour would be produced. The ‘Orange Moments’ ice cream was launched in ASDA in September 2013.

The aims of the challenge were to:

  • enthuse pupils about the range of jobs in retail and manufacturing
  • give pupils the chance to compete for the unique prize of having their ice cream produced
  • raise students’ awareness and understanding of business
  • enhance pupils’ employability skills: planning, communication, initiative, decision making, organisation, problem solving and teamwork

Read the Yorkshire Evening Post article

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Ahead Partnership

Ahead Partnership acts as a catalyst to improve society and the economy. A social enterprise, they provide the structural support that enables businesses of all sizes to work with partners to help cities, towns and communities thrive and grow. Their innovative products and entrepreneurial solutions include their widely-acclaimed programme Make the Grade. This enables schools to improve educational outcomes through long-term partnerships with business. Cockburn’s links to Pinsent Masons solicitors are featured in the latest Ahead Partnership newsletter (click here to view.)

Click here to view the full report on Cockburn’s activities with Ahead Partnership, which also involved ASDA, Balfour Beatty Construction and UK General

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Apps for Good

The Apps for Good goal is to transform the way technology is taught in schools; to empower students from all backgrounds to seize the opportunities of our digital age and create solutions to the problems they care about, using technology.

Cockburn’s team of App designers who call themselves ‘Apptastic’, travelled down to London to present their App idea at the London Symphony Orchestra Music Centre. The team was shortlisted down to the final 24, from over 400 entries. Their App, ‘The Story Wall’, which allows users to create collaborative stories and promote the enjoyment of writing, was in to the ‘Connected Communities’ category. Apptastic delivered a flawless pitch and Q&A session, to leave the stage feeling as though they had done enough to win. After a 5 hour wait, the ‘Connected Communities’ category was the last award of the evening and the head judge summed up all that was good and strong about the different teams and their ideas.  This only added to the nerves as it was clear from the judge’s comments that The Story Wall was well liked and in a strong position. When the winner was announced the students were ecstatic, feeling that all the hard work, resilience, preparation and pride they had put into the last 8 months of ICT work had paid off.

Their App will now be developed commercially after receiving £10,000’s worth of development time with Quick Blox, who will create and release their App on to Google Play, to be available for download on Android phones and tablets from January 2014.

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Balfour Beatty Construction

Balfour Beatty, one of the country’s major construction companys has been working with pupils over a number of years, particularly with mentoring.

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The Co-operative

Cockburn is a member of The Learning trust (South Leeds), and the Trust is supported by, and also supports the ethos of the Co-Operative Movement.

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Ecorys is an international company providing research, consultancy and management services. They specialise in economic, social and spatial development and aim to deliver real benefit to society through the work they do. They are one of the oldest research and consulting companies in Europe. In the summer of 2013 they proudly celebrated their 84th anniversary! Cockburn School, through the management by Ecorys, has been involved over the last 3 years with exchange visits with Polish education staff and schools with the aim of developing project work within the Polish education system.

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A group of Year 10 students has visited a residential development in Middleton to learn about construction on a site which will accommodate 122 homes and bungalows. These are being developed by the leading housing and care provider, Sanctuary Group, in partnership with Keepmoat.

The students, studying a BTEC construction course, were there to learn about the various job roles, health and safety procedures and construction methods being used to build the development.  Forty two students from the school visited the site and used the knowledge gained on their visit to help with coursework back in the classroom. Fiona Ratcliffe is a regional apprentice coordinator at Keepmoat. She said: “The open events for Cockburn School are all about giving students the chance to see what life on a working construction site is really like. Keepmoat is committed to seeing local people benefit from its developments whether that’s by offering skills, training and apprenticeships to people from the areas we work in or doing something like this which we hope will inspire young people to pursue a career in the industry.”

The houses and bungalows are being built off Middleton’s Thorpe Road, using land which has been empty for around 20 years. The £10million redevelopment is part of a wider regeneration project in the south of Leeds.

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Leeds Trinity University College

Cockburn is the Leeds Trinity SCITT lead school for Music, Dance and Drama PGCE training and is responsible for leading the in-school provision for a number of trainee Music teachers in 2014. In 2015, this provision will develop to include the PGCE training of Drama/Performing Arts.

School Centred Initial Teacher Training courses are ideal for any graduate who wishes to complete their teacher training within a school environment. As all Trinity SCITT courses are led by local active teaching professionals, trainees can expect to receive a high level of training and support from both inside and outside the classroom. That’s why if trainees are passionate about working within a teaching environment and eager to develop confidence and understanding as a teacher, a School Centred Initial Teacher Training course is a fantastic choice for them.

SCITT courses offer a full Professional-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 60 Masters credits.

Click here for more information about the Leeds Trinity SCITT route into teaching.

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National Theatre Connections

National Theatre Connections (also referred to as New Connections and formerly Shell Connections) is the National Theatre’s annual youth theatre scheme, originally founded in 1995. The National Theatre annually commissions ten plays from established playwrights which are performed by youth theatre groups across the UK. Groups are invited to perform at Connections Festivals held at a professional theatre in their area, and then one selected performance of each play from throughout the country is invited to perform at the National Theatre London. In our first year of entry and after selecting a play called ‘45mins’ by award winning writer Anya Reiss and performing one home performance here at Cockburn and one performance at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the company were chosen as 1 of only 10 companies (from a total of 220) to be invited to perform at the National Theatre London in July 2013. The company consisted of six post-16 students, two year 10 students, and 3 members of staff (as Directors and tech support) and utilised both lesson time and extracurricular sessions to ensure the work is of the highest quality.

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Phoenix Dance Theatre

Cockburn has developed an outstanding partnership with Phoenix Dance Theatre over the last three academic years. This partnership enables Cockburn to strategically plan external input into curricular and extra-curricular Dance activities in order to provide maximum impact on a large number of students. Phoenix was selected as an arts partner due to their strong foundations in education provision as well as high quality performance work.

The partnership work with Phoenix comprises several strands:

Creative input into the curriculum: Phoenix artists work with KS4 Dance groups over an intensive period resulting in the creation of a new piece of repertoire. This gives students a realistic vocational experience of working as part of an ensemble and responding to direction. Class teachers support the sessions, enabling them to refresh their own practice and gain new creative methods of working.

Performance opportunities and visits: Through our partnership we receive opportunities three times a year for students to perform in public events at PDT’s building, including the annual ResTec event, raising awareness of issues surrounding HIV and Aids. We also receive regular access to Phoenix’s building where students learn about the running of an arts organisation, including non-performance roles, developing career aspirations and awareness of potential employment routes in the arts industry. As a direct result of the partnership several Cockburn students have engaged weekend and evening classes with two students selected for Phoenix’s Youth Academy.

Live performances: As a partner school we receive heavily subsidised tickets for Phoenix’s local performances, with free workshop packages included. This opens up opportunities to watch and engage with live contemporary dance for those students who may not normally do so.

Over the course of the last academic year 194 students have benefitted from working with Phoenix in some capacity, either through partaking in a workshop series, watching a performance, visiting the building or performing at their events. This has impacted very positively, with an increased interest in contemporary and creative dance styles and a very large uptake of GCSE Dance.

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Into University

IntoUniversity provides local learning centres where young people are inspired
to achieve.

At each local centre IntoUniversity offers an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.

There are three main strands:

– Academic Support
– Mentoring

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Pinsent Masons

International law firm Pinsent Masons has been awarded four prestigious Big Tick awards by Business in the Community for the firm’s community investment initiatives. The awards are part of the National Awards for Excellence, the UK’s most influential, independent, peer-assessed corporate responsibility awards. The Awards for Excellence reward businesses which have had a positive impact on society and which demonstrate that being responsible is integral to their business model. The firm has been recognised in the Awards for Excellence for the last five years.

Pinsent Masons has won one new Big Tick and two reaccreditations in the Education category which recognises programmes that raise the attainment and aspirations of young people by building sustainable partnerships with schools. This is the fourth year that the firm’s partnership with Manchester Academy has been awarded a Big Tick and the second time that the firm has been shortlisted as a National Example of Excellence. The firm has also been recognised for its long standing partnerships with St Matthew’s Primary School in Birmingham and Cockburn School.

For over 10 years, staff from Pinsent Masons have mentored KS3 students in Maths and English, group mentoring of Most Able students and have worked with groups of targeted girls to impact on their attainment and engagement.

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