Partners in Learning is an inclusive teaching school alliance working with over 100 schools from all phases. Our vision is to create a sustainable, inclusive and productive partnership utilising the expertise from across the alliance which will lead to the improvement of teaching and learning and improved outcomes for pupils across all schools within the Teaching School Alliance. Partners in Learning Primary Teaching School Alliance was designated in April 2013 and Partners in Learning Secondary Teaching School Alliance was designated in July 2015, together Partners in Learning works with over 100 schools from Doncaster and beyond.

Our Vision

Partners in Learning seeks to create a sustainable, inclusive and productive partnership utilising the expertise from across the alliance and beyond which will lead to the improvement and development of high quality leadership, teaching and learning and improved outcomes for children across all our schools.

Our Aims

Equal Access/Social Mobility
To respond to the challenge of social mobility, ensuring that all children have equal entitlement to the very best that education can offer, equipping them with life-long learning skills which are fit for the 21st century.

Teaching and Learning
To ensure children have access to quality teaching which results in good or better progress for all learners regardless of their starting point or background.

To encourage all leaders to be active participants in Partners in Learning leading to sustainable, inspirational leadership within a school led support system that takes collective responsibility for the outcomes for all children.

Professional Learning
To be totally committed to an investment in the school workforce by ensuring access to high quality professional development opportunities and clear and rewarding career pathways.

Research and Evidence Based Practice
To develop a cohesive, flexible school based system which is forward thinking, creative and offers opportunities for innovative school improvement based upon action research and evidence based practice.

To promote inclusivity through the development of positive relationships with all stakeholders within Doncaster and other providers at regional and national level.

Challenge and Support
To ensure all schools have equal entitlement to a highly skilled workforce where underperformance is challenged and all professionals are supported and encouraged to work towards continuous improvement.

Collaboration with Secondary
To work in collaboration with Partners in Learning Secondary Teaching School to improve outcomes across all phases.

Primary Strategic Board

Janet Foster

School: Kirk Sandall Academy Trust

Role: Director of Primary Teaching School Alliance


I am privileged to currently be the Director of Primary Teaching School for Partners in Learning. My role is to work with the Strategic Directors and members of the Strategic Board to deliver the vision, aims and priorities of Partners in Learning. In addition to this I am also the Executive Headteacher of Kirk Sandall Academy Trust which enables me to have insight into the successes and challenges schools are experiencing.

Helen Bellinger

Role: Director of Strategic Development & School Improvement

In my role as Director of School Improvement, I am able to combine my skills and experience as a former LA Officer, Primary Headteacher and System Leader with experience of supporting schools in challenging circumstances, to commission School to School support through Partners in Learning. This involves working with our highly effective team of SLEs, LLEs and NLEs to set up school to school support deployments. In addition to this and in response to the changing educational landscape, I am working as the Strategic Lead liaising with the LA on the transfer of identified school improvement functions to the Teaching School. This is an exciting, new, full-time role and an opportunity to work with other Partners in Learning Directors, Strategic Partners and member schools, to shape the future for Doncaster.

Janis James

School: Bentley High Street Primary School and Rosedale Primary School
Role: Director of Partnership Working

My new role as the Strategic Director for Developing Partnerships with other organisations across Doncaster is both very challenging and very rewarding. My aim is to forge relationships with the Behaviour Service and the Early Help team as well as make links with the wider community including the Diocese, the Doncaster Chamber and local businesses. In the dramatically changing local education and business landscape, it is essential that organisations work together across Doncaster so that we equip our children and young people with the skills and experiences they deserve to prepare them for life in ‘Our Doncaster.’ I am the Executive Headteacher of Bentley High Street Primary School, which has been graded as Outstanding at Ofsted twice since 2010 and Rosedale Primary School which is a rapidly improving school in the community of Scawsby. Bentley High Street is a National Support School and I am a National Leader of Education, our team provide CPD and School to School support for Partners in Learning.

Beryce Nixon

School: Hill Top Primary School & Victoria Primary School
Role:  Director of School System & Resource Development 

I am currently the Strategic Lead for School-Led System Development. This role covers the development of multi-academy trusts within Doncaster and working with the LA and business to develop services that school will require. As a National Leader, I am also involved in School to School support and CPD. I am Executive Headteacher over Hill Top and Victoria Primaries in Edlington. Hill Top is an Outstanding school, in addition to this in July 2016 we gained a good judgement for Victoria which was previously in special measures.


Bev Lockwood

School: Kirkby Avenue Primary School
Role: Director of Succession Planning, Recruitment & Retention - Leadership Academy

My role with Partners in Learning is Director of Succession Planning, Recruitment and Retention from RQT to Executive Headteacher. As part of this role I lead a very proactive working party designing and brokering CPD and development opportunities from Middle Leadership through to experienced Headteachers and Governors. We facilitate an annual Leadership conference at NCTL on current and notable themes for leaders. Within this, we aim to provide leadership teams the reflection time for revisiting vision and purpose by planning keynote speeches from inspirational people. Another of our key purposes is to streamline CPD and development opportunities for ‘growing’ our future middle and senior leaders as well as a new generation of Headteachers. I am a National Leader of Education as Headteacher of Kirkby Avenue Primary School in Bentley, which is currently an Outstanding school and a National Support School.

Diane Dunn

Role: Strategic Lead for NQT's - School Improvement & QA Consultant - Strategic Lead for School Improvement


I work with Gill Ayre as Bridging Officer and Quality Assurance Consultant for Partners in Learning Teaching School Alliance. My role is to contract deployments into schools where support has been requested ensuring the right people are in place with the specialisms needed alongside a match of personalities in order for schools to continue to move forward. I also quality assure the work of LLEs, SLEs and CPD provided by Partners in Learning to ensure schools receive the best possible support and that school needs are met to a high standard. I feel very privileged to be part of the Teaching School Alliance.

Keith Robinson

Role: ITT Partnership Manager - Strategic Lead for Recruitment & Retention


With a background in Human Resources, retail & project management, I helped to form the Doncaster Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Partnership in 2002, with the first schools-based trainees starting in September 2003.


Supported by the ITT Partnership Coordinator and the team of Primary & Secondary ITT Liaison Tutors, my role is to respond to the direction set by the Partnership’s Strategic Management Board, which is co-chaired by the Primary Director for Partners in Learning TSA and the Secondary Lead for School Direct (Hall Cross Academy).


I am passionate about Doncaster schools recruiting, training, retaining and continuing to develop high-quality teachers, I am a long standing member of both the Regional ITT Provider and Schools-Based Provider Networks.

Gill Ayre

Role: Director of NQT's - School Improvement & QA Consultant


Having had a background in education for over 38 years, had experience as a Headteacher, an Executive Headteacher and Senior Adviser in 2 Local Authorities and also having worked as an accredited Ofsted Inspector, I now work for Partners in Learning on an independent basis. I am a Standards and Effective Partner (StEP) to a number of schools and also work alongside and in partnership with a colleague as a Bridging Officer and a QA Consultant.

Helen Harrison

School: Woodfield Primary School

Role: Director of ITT


I am pleased to represent Woodfield Primary School, part of the Rose Learning Trust, on the Strategic Board. Having worked as a School Leader across 2 local authorities, I am passionate about working collaboratively and being outward facing in order to secure the best outcomes for children and young people.

Faye Parish

School: Sheep Dip Lane Primary School

Role: Strategic Lead for Partnership Working


I am currently supporting the Strategic Director for ‘Partnership Working for systems and behaviour support’ for Partners in Learning Teaching School Alliance. My role is to work with the Strategic Director on supporting school behaviour systems and strategies using the highly effective Thrive approach. In addition to this I am the Headteacher of Sheep Dip Lane Primary.

Helen Redford-Hernandez

School: Hungerhill School
Role: Strategic Lead

I have been the Headteacher of Hungerhill School in Doncaster for the last three years. Hungerhill School is a mixed comprehensive (11-16 years) with more than 1100 students. It is a high performing school, having been graded as Outstanding in October 2012. The school continues to secure exceptional outcomes with all groups of children making outstanding progress. Last year, the school secured Teaching School as well as National Support School status. Designated as a National Leader of Education and Pupil Premium Reviewer, I also support a number of secondary and primary schools through the Teaching School Alliance, Partners in Learning. 

I have held a number of leadership posts in other Local Authorities, including Head of School in an 11-18 Federated Academy and MFL Advisory Teacher in Nottinghamshire Advisory and Inspection Service.

My particular subject expertise is MFL and I worked for many years as a Specialist Lecturer on the ITT course at the University of Nottingham. Before becoming a teacher, I qualified as a Management Accountant for a large steel company in Sheffield.

Jill Foster

School: Richmond Hill Academy

Role: Strategic Lead for Succession Planning


I have over 30 years’ experience in education, holding responsible positions and acquiring a range and depth of knowledge.  In addition I have developed my current school to a top sustained position for over thirteen years and have successfully converted the school to a standalone academy in 2014, and most recently a Multi Academy Trust in 2016.


I have taken my present school through three Ofsted inspections, for which it has been awarded Good, with Outstanding leadership and Outstanding capacity to improve.


In my professional journey, I have been an advisor for SEN and head of a special need unit, as well as the leader of a Beacon development unit, which, supported the development of the current NPQH model.  In addition to school leadership, I am a PQSI Qualified (2015) Ofsted Additional Inspector. I  initiated, led and sustained a strong NCSL network Learning Community for over fourteen years, which is still innovating and sharing good practice over four local authorities. 

Karl O'Reilly

School: Coppice School

Role: Strategic Lead for School System & Resource Development - Strategic Lead for Partnership Working


I have been the Headteacher at Coppice School for nearly two years and have spent much of my career working in the SEND sector. I started teaching as a mainstream Primary Teacher and then moved on to teach Secondary PE before finding my true calling in life, teaching and leading in Special Schools. I have a wealth of experience working with children and young people with all variety of needs, having taught in schools with profound and multiple learning needs, working in Pupil Referral Units, right through to working in mainstream schools supporting both children and adults to provide an inclusive education. Personally, I am passionate about developing a better understanding of sensory needs and want to see all schools in Doncaster partaking in authentic inclusion with children and young people with SEND. I am also keen to work with new leaders and creating a local leadership strategy that is right for Doncaster.


I am proud to be working with Partners in Learning. I know that by being on the Strategic Board I will provide a voice for the SEND sector and the group will allow me to help realise, shape and support the potential we have among us.

Jeremy Harris

School: Hatchell Wood Primary School
Role: Strategic Lead for School System & Resource Development - Strategic Lead for Recruitment & Retention

I have been a Headteacher in Doncaster for seven years now.  I previously worked in Nottinghamshire and Doncaster in a range of schools, mainly in socially deprived areas.  Having been through three Ofsted inspections in four years, we well know the journey of ‘Getting to Good’ in our school, going from Satisfactory to Requires Improvement to Good.  It was a long journey of restructuring personnel, processes and values. 

I strongly believe that building positive, supportive and developmental teams with high expectations as well as identifying and developing the talents in individuals is the best way to improve outcomes in learning.

Helena Honeybone

School: Town Field Primary School
Role: Strategic Lead Curriculum & Professional Development, Creativity & Innovation

It is a genuine privilege to work collaboratively with Partners in Learning to enhance children’s learning opportunities across the borough of Doncaster, leading to improved outcomes for all.  I am extremely proud to be Interim Headteacher at Town Field Primary school. Town Field is a large, vibrant and diverse learning community with a superb team of dedicated, creative and hard-working staff. As Interim Headteacher I am determined to ensure all children are happy, safe and have a genuine love of learning.


Alison Navas

School: Canon Popham C of E School
Role: Strategic Lead for Partnership Working - Strategic Lead for Recruitment & Retention

I have spent my entire teaching career in Doncaster and have been the Head Teacher at Canon Popham C of E School for 6 years. I am passionate about improving the life chances for all our children through working collaboratively to deliver the highest quality teaching and outcomes. I am proud to represent Canon Popham and Church schools in Doncaster.