Find out more about joining our long-term partnership programme

Photo by Rob Freeman © RSC Browse and license our images

Joining the Associate Schools programme

Any maintained school in England can apply to join the Associate Schools programme. Schools join the programme for two years and have the opportunity to renew and extend their involvement at the end of this period.

The programme is built around the principle of schools working in local partnerships to develop communities of practice. We aim for each local partnership to consist of a Lead Associate School who in turn recruits a number of Associate Schools. In many cases these local partnerships include a regional theatre as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company. See a list of our Regional Theatre Partners and Lead Associate Schools

We are particularly interested in hearing from schools who think they have the capacity and commitment to take on the role of Lead Associate School. If you are interested in that role and in developing a community of practice in your region, please contact us.

If your school has had relatively little contact with us, we would first of all ask that you experience the range of work we offer. If you have already experienced our work then, following an initial discussion with us, you will be assigned a member of the RSC’s Education team who will talk to you about your existing relationship with us and explore how it might develop further.

Being a Lead Associate School

Lead Associate Schools demonstrate a deep commitment to the teaching of Shakespeare at all levels of the school, including governors and senior leadership. We will expect two or more Lead Teachers to manage the programme and to take part in the professional development opportunities we offer.

Importantly, Lead Associate Schools recruit and coordinate a cluster of up to ten Associate Schools in their area.  They lead on the design and management of their local partnership engaging with RSC artists and theatre makers to extend and enrich the teaching, learning and performance of Shakespeare’s work. 

Lead Associate Schools join the programme for two years and have the opportunity to renew after this time. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to become a Lead Associate School, please contact us at