Raising Aspirations, Broadening Horizons

What do you get from a partnership of three state schools, three independent schools and a University in East Kent. A partnership built upon a shared belief in raising aspirations and broadening horizons is beginning to reap the benefits of working together.  

To date we have had teacher exchanges, a student debating event, a teach meet, an MFL Subject Teacher Network meeting and an ITE Network meeting. Much more is planned because we know that together we are better, we can achieve more, for all our students, for all our teachers and for our community.

Talking with Yazmin, Y11 from The Spires Academy, her first visit to The Kings School Canterbury, was daunting. Working with peers from the Independent Schools who were more experienced and confident in debating, provided an excellent coaching opportunity. This event exemplified what we are trying to achieve here in the East Kent Schools Together partnership, which Canterbury Christ Church University is committed to support as part of its outreach strategy.

Students from our schools have shared their ideas for the network - academic, sport and charity events. A strong theme coming out of the discussion is how working together can develop new skills, build resilient, confident and considerate young people. You may see us doing a trek, camping, surviving in a challenging environment. When you're tired, hungry, wet and lost - we're all in it together. Lots of healthy competition, bake offs, sing offs, dance offs, a fantastic offer - cooking for the homeless.

One of the teachers who hosted the EKST Initial Teacher Training Network went into the meeting with some carefully planned outcomes - but quite simply talking and exchanging ideas made this event so much more impactful. The partnership is about enriching our students lives but also about investing in our teachers. This partnership is about learning with and from each other and supporting professional development. 

Why are we so excited about a simple partnership in East Kent? Because the simple gets forgotten in our very complex busy lives. Just listening to the teacher champions and students of this network, there is no shortage of energy, ideas or commitment. There is a shortage of funds, but what we don't have in £ we can make up for innovation, creativity and a commitment to do something a bit different. 

About the author

Kerry Jordan-Daus is Head of Partnerships at the Faculty of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University.