This paper reports the findings from a cross-sector research project designed to question how the development of university-school partnerships can influence university academics’ pedagogic practice in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Findings from this research are offered at time when, in parallel with countries around the world, universities and schools in England are being encouraged to review and reflect on the quality of teaching and professional development, in line with the Teaching Excellence Framework consultation (2016) and the Standards for Professional Development (Department for Education 2016b) (Bianchi 2017). This paper seeks to develop a coherent response to two major issues; the policy imperative to develop greater science expertise in schools and to improve the quality of teaching and learning of science in higher education institutions. The research seeks to advance the notion of critical reflection on the quality of cross-sector STEM teaching and learning, by moving to what the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2015, p.15) terms a “‘meso’ networked level” of professional development in STEM education. This paper highlights how interpreting the imperative of constant change in education reform as a relational, outward looking endeavour offers the potential to help both universities and schools to better address the global education challenges that lie ahead.