The Schools of King Edward VI Internship Programme – Jocelyn D’Arcy
Of the nine schools in the foundation, two are selective independent, five are single sex selective state, one is co-educational selective state and one is a co-educational non-selective academy. Given the extreme diversity of our schools, collaboration within the foundation has not always been a strength! Sub-groups of the schools work very closely together, but others see each other more as competitors than potential collaborators. The internship programme was launched in September as a means of beginning to collaborate more effectively, share good practice across the foundation and develop the teachers in each of our schools.
The Internship Programme is a free programme that provides aspiring middle and senior leaders with the opportunity to gain experience in another school while acting in the capacity of a consultant. Host schools benefit from the expertise and knowledge of an ambitious practitioner reviewing a developmental priority area forthe school.
Each year, schools are invited to submit:
a) A list of issues on which they would welcome an external perspective (e.g. a review of an initiative in the school’s development plan or of a subject department to help inform self-evaluation). Some examples for possible projects include: quality of homework provision, Oxbridge programmes, strategies for teaching girls or coaching systems. It is also possible to review a particular subject or aspect of school life.
b) A list of the members of staff, probably middle leaders or aspiring middle leaders, who have been identified as being likely to benefit from an opportunity to broaden their leadership skills. Each school has their own process for identifying these staff members, but the process might include applications, or it might be incorporated into the performance management or CPD process.
Potential interns receive an email congratulating them on their nomination for an internship and inviting them to complete a questionnaire. This email is not a guarantee of an internship as that is dependent upon the allocation process.
The Internship Liaison Officer uses the questionnaires to match interns with projects and notifies host schools and successful interns with an email containing contact details, project brief and general expectations for scope and timescales of the internship project as well as the date and time for the central training. S/he also emails any unsuccessful applicants with brief feedback on their applications.
Teachers selected for an internship receive training on areas such as qualitative research design, report writing and presentation skills before starting their projects. Clear expectations on confidentiality are included in the training. The training is delivered centrally through the King Edward’s Consortium.
The format of the projects will vary widely depending on the nature of the brief but could involve staff/pupil/parent questionnaires or face to face interviews. Following analysis of the data, a written report and/or oral presentation to the school’s SLT will be made. The amount of time an intern might then need to spend in the host school will vary depending on the nature of the project but likely timescales include:
- Initial meetings to agree brief and methodology: half day
- Data collection (interviews etc): one day
- Presentation of report and findings to school’s SLT: half day (or twilight)
If the methodology involved questionnaires, these could be administered remotely and thus reduce the face to face time commitment.
Interns complete an online review of the programme; reflecting on their own development as well as offering insight into the programme. This information is collated by the Internship Liaison Officer and distributed to the headteachers of participating schools to inform future allocations for the next intern cohort.
In its inaugural year, we have 25 interns engaged in 25 different research projects exploring questions such as ‘How can we create truly independent learners at KS5?’, ‘Real stretch and challenge for the most able learners’ and ‘How does homework support the students’ mastery of their learning?'. We are excited to see how being an intern has developed teachers within the foundation while improving our schools.