As HT of a primary school in Coventry I have been fortunate enough to have been able to link with some fantastic schools and colleagues from across the UK. I have visited schools who are Outstanding, Good, RI and in Special Measures and on each visit I have gained so much and brought something new back to my own school. I always find it fascinating to see how another school operates, the approaches they have and the way they go about providing the best learning opportunities for their pupils. It is amazing what is going on in other schools and the more I see the more ideas I have for my own school.
@PairandShare came about because I now have a good network of schools to tap into but I’d like to see more ideas from a greater range of schools and, to be honest, locating further schools to look at with the same approach to sharing ideas is not always easy. After all, how do you forge links with a school outside of your local authority unless someone has given you a recommendation? It’s not that easy and that’s where @PairandShare comes in – it’s free and all you have to do is complete the short form (click here) where you highlight what you’d like to see, how far you are willing to travel and what you are able to offer a school visiting you and the rest is simple – I will pair you up with a like minded school. The one and only aim is to raise the quality of pupil outcomes through school to school collaboration.
Recent experience shows me that school leaders worry when they have to share something good about their school – they don’t want to seem boastful or underestimate the practice they have going on. It’s important to realise that what one school sees as basic good practice another school will not have thought of this idea – this is a particularly strong argument for linking with schools outside of your local authority because we all approach things in different ways.
How to use @PairandShare
@PairandShare links you with another school (this is done on a termly basis but it’s up to you how often you signup from once to every time we do it) and the rest is up to you. Personally, for my school, I plan to use it in two ways. The first way is that I aim to get out with the Senior Leadership Team and see how other leadership teams approach school improvement and secondly I aim to send groups of staff to look at a specific focus (this is going to be a real driver at Park Hill Primary where each staff member has an entitlement to visit another school every term because it’s all too easy to become insular within our own school).
The more schools that sign up the more great practice we will be able to share – if you sign up we’ll find a school for you to visit. The only thing that is asked (if you have a Twitter account) is that you take photos of what you see and tweet about it using the #PairandShare so that we can all see the great practice going on in schools.