Ian Tyas, Ingham Primary School
“I think the challenges that children are facing over the next five years largely centre around the changing world that we are preparing them for. Children face a future where they are going to have multiple careers and technology will play an enormous part in their lives bringing multiple opportunities but also lots of challenges. There’s also the business of moving into a world where the lines between truth and fiction are becoming very blurred.”
“From a school’s perspective this is about the curricula that we build and the way in which we develop the right opportunities and learning experiences for pupils. These are challenges that are too big for us to face on our own and we are lucky in Lincolnshire to have headteachers and teachers who are doing great things – by working together we can share the ideas, the evidence-base and the strategies to support children and to prepare them for that future.
“My hope is that people will invest in Kyra and be part of a movement of people that will invest in making the right changes and having impact – being a partnership that is focused on deeds that make a difference to children’s lives, not simply words. It’s important that we hold onto the values and the DNA of Kyra in doing that, and that we don’t become distracted.”
Julia Marshall, St Peter in Eastgate Primary School
“School to school partnerships are key for all schools. Gone are the days where we work in isolation. We need to work together to develop shared professional development and to share resources, whether physical resources or professional knowledge and capital.
My hopes for the next stage of Kyra are to continue the fantastic work that has been done and to ensure that more staff in our schools become involved. It’s quite easy for school leaders to be involved, but I feel we need to do more to bring parents and governors on board too.
The key thing we need to hold on to is working in the interests of all the schools and pupils involved, going beyond our own individual school communities and supporting improvement and success throughout Lincolnshire. We must remain ambitious for all our children.”
Maggie Farrar, School Partnerships Consultant
“Looking back to 2013, what we were experiencing was the early beginnings of Kyra becoming a teaching school alliance and the early beginnings of our understanding around what effective school to school collaboration looks like. That grew from a real need amongst school leaders not to be isolated and their desire to provide, and receive support from, other schools. We have seen – in the meantime - a real shift from softer collaboration to really strategic, rigorous and impact focused collaboration – partly through the introduction of peer review, but also through the open and discerning use of data to understand what schools and children need.
There has been a growth of confidence, which has been brought about by building the collective capacity of Kyra’s schools and by working together to pursue improvement. In 2018, we’re standing on a threshold – asking the key questions about where Kyra focuses its efforts and how it works together going forward. There is a sense of urgency about some of the challenges – not least the variability in outcomes and the impact of poverty on so many of Lincolnshire’s pupils.
Kyra must be about building agency and empowerment across all schools and their communities. Kyra is not a separate entity to the schools – it exists through the leaders, teachers, other professionals and children that are part of it. So, the challenge is how does Kyra continue to be sustainable by building its central team and generating income by delivering a range of national and regional projects within Lincolnshire, whilst remaining a force that is driven by the profession and its community of schools locally. That is a context that the best teaching schools will carefully navigate in the years ahead, and I think Kyra can do it.
The backdrop is also the challenge – and that is the question of what makes an effective school in today’s context and climate. How do we measure that? Is it about achievement and effort, or is it also about those important things such as wellbeing and identity. Government policy does not always go with the grain of the very strategic priorities of this community of professionals – and Kyra must continue to be confident and influence and inform policymakers based on its commitment to evidence, research and professional knowledge.”
Lesley Coulthurst, Toynton All-Saints Primary School
“A key challenge is that many schools are still operating in silos at a time when schools – for various reasons – need to be working together to meet the key challenges we and our children and young people face. We also have geographical barriers that restrict opportunities for some of children.
School to school support is essential to overcoming these challenges. We need to continue working collaboratively with peers to share best practice, to embark on shared CPD, and to pursue peer support and peer review.
As members we need to prioritise what our core-offer is for pupils – to make sure that no school is left behind and to be ambitious for children. We can look at how we create even more enrichment for all our children by working together.
I want to see the work of the alliance embedded so that parents and children are also increasingly involved in the work of Kyra.
Most of all, Kyra should hold onto the strong sense of integrity at its very core - that it is ambitious for children, that no child is left behind, and that we are improving outcomes and ensuring wellbeing for all our children.”
Amy Wells, Ellison Boulters Academy
“We face many challenges – not least those brought about by funding challenges and by the teacher recruitment and retention challenges we face. Lincolnshire faces a particular challenge around recruitment because of its size and the number of small schools in the county. It’s important we work together to ensure that we can recruit more teachers and that we can retain these teachers – ensuring we help them to grow through initial teacher training, the early teaching years, middle leadership and beyond. We need to turn the challenges into opportunities.
Collaboration is key to improving outcomes. No one headteacher or school can do this by themselves. We need to provide all our colleagues – by working together – with the opportunities to continue to learn and grow.
I feel that Kyra should build upon everything that it has done so far – most importantly the mutual and professional respect that is shown across the alliance, and the collective commitment to improving the outcomes of children across Lincolnshire and the commitment to recruiting and retaining the best teachers and leaders.”