The purpose of the Education Forum (previously Education Partnership) is to debate and engage its members in the development and implementation of Department for Education policy, particularly its implications for the school workforce. 

The Forum discusses the government’s priorities - including those to raise standards; reduce burdens; and raise the status of teachers – and provide a forum for professional organisations to work together constructively with DfE, contributing their professional and organisational perspectives to the consideration of school workforce implications of education policy and its implementation.

Principles and Terms of Reference

The Secretary of State’s key principles for the group are:

Promoting and maintaining mutual trust  and integrity

Membership is a continuing commitment.  Members should participate on the basis that they fully intend to remain members for the duration of the Partnership.

Members of the group will maintain the confidentiality of discussions;

Organisations should not brief the media either before or after meetings on the proceedings of the Partnership.

Providing maximum information and clarity

Discussions with members may take place outside the bi-monthly cycle of meetings, to promote information sharing.

Seeking consensus wherever possible

The Partnership will operate on the basis of a ‘variable geometry’ of consultation and consensus.

Ministers will make clear, at the outset of discussions, whether consensus or comment is being sought.


Discussions must take place in confidence, to promote frank debate and to allow members to give constructive consideration to all the issues under discussion, including any that they would not necessarily wish to be known to be discussing.

Partner organisations are free to engage with other groups in their own right. Members should not however purport to represent the views of the Partnership, unless agreed by the Partnership.

Confidential papers will be marked as such: they should be treated on a ‘without prejudice’ basis and be kept confidential to the Partnership and immediate colleagues, unless there is clear Ministerial agreement otherwise.

Respect even where there is disagreement

Meetings will encourage all members to be fully participative and open in their contributions. 

The Partnership will recognise that there will be occasions of disagreement. Some topics raised for discussion will be controversial. The Partnership will listen to the views of all members; focus on areas of collective interest; and seek to achieve commitment on high level priorities.

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