Working in Partnership

Working in Partnership – Beaconsfield Child & Family Centre (BCFC) and Northern Children’s Network (NCN)

The Department of Education (DoE) and the Tasmanian Education and Care (E&C) community are committed to working together through Strong Partnerships to achieve a common purpose: positive outcomes for Tasmanian children. Collaborative partners recognise their shared interests in and responsibility for children’s learning, development and wellbeing, and they work together to create quality programs and opportunities for children and their families. This includes supporting successful transitions between E&C services and schools.

To achieve authenticity, partnerships between DoE schools and services, and E&C services need to be transparent, open, accountable, and based on shared values, mutual understanding and respect for all partners’ experience and expertise.

  • The National Quality Standard, Standard 6.2 Quality Area 6 – Collaborative partnerships with families and communities: Collaborative Partnerships enhance children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing.
  • “For the benefit of our children, it is undeniable that the most helpful change would be reflected by services working in far more connected ways” (Prichard, P., Purdon, S. and Chaplyn, J. (2010). Moving Forward Together: A guide to support the integration of service delivery for children and families. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, page 4).
  • The characteristics of effective partnerships include positive communication practices, collaborative planning, and the pursuit of common goals (Kelley, M. F. (1996) “Collaboration in early childhood education”. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 7(3): 275-282Lumsden, E. (2005) “Joined up thinking in practice: An exploration of professional collaboration”, in T. Waller (Ed.) An Introduction to Early Childhood: A multidisciplinary approach. London: Paul Chapman Publishing, 39 – 54).
  • “Studies have shown that common goals can overcome barriers and smooth the way for collaborative approaches between professionals” (Kelley, 1996, see above; Tayler, C. (2006) “Challenging partnerships in Australian early childhood education”. Early Years: Journal of International Research & Development, 26(3): 249-265).
  • The goal of the partnership is to achieve the best possible learning and leisure experiences and outcomes for children across services.
  • Leaders in Department of Education schools and services, and Education and Care services have equal responsibility for developing and maintaining the partnership.
  • The appropriate partnership structure, management practices, and resources must be in place to achieve the intended purpose of the partnership.
  • Establishing successful partnerships takes time and maintaining a successful partnership takes effort. It is important to create the right culture from the start and review the structure and processes of the partnership on an ongoing basis.
  • It is the responsibility of all individuals to commit to the working partnership in principle and in action.

 

  • Actively work together to develop and document a shared and common purpose. Respect each other’s insights, priorities, goals, ideas, differences and experiences.
  • Set realistic expectations at the beginning of the partnership and review at regular intervals; e.g. develop a Working Together Agreement.
  • Share relevant policies and procedures, including their review. There may be a circumstance when a joint policy can be developed to support consistency for children.
  • Share invitations to events, e.g. assemblies, concerts, open days and school sports carnivals.
  • With family permission, share relevant information about children to support consistency of practice and support.
  • Explore opportunities for mutual benefit, such as:
  • Partnerships are shaped by respected individuals who have responsibility to build consensus and resolve conflicts.
  • Leaders model professional and respectful interactions.
  • Leaders guide a collaborative and consistent approach to children’s learning, development and wellbeing.
  • Leaders support and encourage intentional partnerships and provide staff with the resources and time to pursue collaborative opportunities.
  • Leaders share data and evidence-based practices to continually improve Department of Education (DoE) schools and services, and Education and Care (E&C) services.

 REFLECTIONS FOR LEADERS:

  • How do I model respectful relationships to lead a positive culture between DoE school and service, and E&C service staff?
  • How do I understand the roles and responsibilities (compliance and quality) of my partner service?
  • In what ways can I regularly meet with leaders and educators/teachers from the service we partner with?
  • Have we agreed and communicated with our teams on what resources are shared, how they will be shared, and why?
  • How do I negotiate decisions and resolve disagreements and conflicts if they arise?
  • What do we need and want in a Working Together Agreement?
  • What are the expectations and responsibilities of my role in the partnership?
  • How can I understand each service model? Where can I find this information?
  • How can I build positive and professionally respectful relationships with my partner service?
  • How can we share information between the partner services to support consistency and quality outcomes for children?