A KTP partnership enabled the development of the Barrow Trust School Pathfinder, attracting additional funding predicted to amount to £30 million, and leading to recognition as an educational change innovator.


  • The collaboration attracted additional funding predicted to amount to £30 million.
  • The research provided a sound research-informed foundation for the development of the Trust School Pathfinder in Barrow, through the formalising and strengthening of partnerships. The Pathfinder scheme, comprising four secondary schools and a special school, aims for integrated learning with co-location of services.
  • BECP has been recognised as an innovator in the field of collaborative approaches to managing educational change.

"The project acted as a powerful catalyst for promoting the use of research, including student-led research, to inform strategies for building and sustaining new partnerships. Education-led academy sponsorship and improved GCSE results are two key outputs." (Mason Minnitt, Director, BECP)

About the research

Barrow Excellence Cluster Partnership (BECP), an organisation aiming to boost social and economic regeneration in the Barrow/Furness area through educational innovation, entered a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Centre for the Study of Education and Training at Lancaster University. The collaboration aimed to research how learning opportunities are produced by partnerships between schools, the voluntary sector, health and social services, and small-to-medium-sized businesses.

The KTP Associate Katie Carr built relationships with the schools and partners, reviewed collaborative educational change strategies employed by other Excellence Clusters, developed models of partnership learning, and integrated the outcomes of the programme into the working practices of BECP and its schools.

The research-led approach to developing strategic partnership working and leadership beyond individual institutions has contributed to the recognition of BECP, and its schools, as innovators in the field of collaborative approaches to managing educational change.