About Us

Partners in Learning is an inclusive teaching school alliance working with over 100 schools; innovating practice, transforming learning and driving excellence to improve outcomes for pupils across all schools within the alliance.

Our Vision - Our Purpose

Leading the way together for every child, in every school, every day.

Our Aims

Encourage all leaders to take collective responsibility for outcomes for all children in the school led system.

In the development of highly effective teaching which results in good or better progress for all learners.

High quality professional development opportunities which are underpinned by robust evidence of what works best.

Doncaster schools as employers of choice through recruitment and retention.

To the challenge of social mobility by ensuring that all children have equal entitlement and access to opportunities that will improve their life choices.

How we will do this

Forming positive relationships with all stakeholders within Doncaster and other providers regionally, nationally and globally

Ensuring our work and learning is informed by evidence and research

Evaluating and refining the quality, effectiveness and impact of our work

Meet The Team

Janet Foster

Role: CEO of Partners in Learning Ltd

I am privileged to be the CEO of Partners in Learning Ltd.  My role is to work with an excellent group of trustees and our Strategic Advisory Board to deliver the vision, aims and priorities of Partners in Learning.

‘Leading the way together for every child, in every school, every day’

Our overarching priorities for 2019-2020 are Doncaster Research School, Professional Learning and Evidenced Based Practice, School Improvement and Recruitment and Retention. 

We continue to also work as a key delivery partner for the Doncaster Social Mobility Opportunity Area and I am a member of the Partnership Board which is committed to working together to improve the life chances of children and young people in Doncaster.

Prior to becoming the CEO for PiL I was a Headteacher and System Leader in Doncaster for 17 years. I have also had a key leadership role with Partners in Learning since it was designated as a Teaching School Alliance in 2013. 

I am passionate about working with colleagues and partners for the benefit of Doncaster schools and families. I have engaged with many opportunities to share knowledge, skills and practice locally, nationally and internationally.

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.

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 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 and also sit on the South Yorkshire Futures 'Partnerships for Attainment' Executive Board.

Gill Ayre

Role: Director of NQTs - 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.

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 CE Primary and Nursery School
Role: Headteacher
Specialisms: Teaching & Learning, Curriculum Development, Phonics & Religious Education

Designation: LLE

I have been Headteacher of Canon Popham CE Primary and Nursery School for 7 years. During this time the school has moved from an initial Ofsted ‘satisfactory/RI’ judgement to ‘good’ in all areas. Our most recent SIAMS church school inspection was also good, with ‘outstanding ‘ judgements in both the impact of the Christian character of the school and also in the teaching of Religious Education. As a school we have particular strengths in teaching RE and science through enquiry based learning and investigation. We also have a strong Early Years phase and consistently above national outcomes for the teaching of phonics. We have a strong team who work hard together to support every child in our school to reach their full potential.

Sarah Cairns

School: Southfield Primary School and Bessacarr Primary School
Role: Executive Headteacher
Specialisms: Attainment, Progress, Different group underperformance, Not enough good teaching, Consistency, Differentiation, Pace and productivity, Monitoring, Middle Leaders, Governance, Leaders and Teaching, School Improvement Planning, Reading, Writing

Designation: LLE

I have been the Headteacher at Southfield Primary School for nine years and have been the Executive Headteacher at Bessacarr since April 2014. The two schools federated in November 2014 hence my current role as Executive Headteacher. The Federation presents an exciting opportunity to gain strength from the excellence across the two schools. Southfield Primary School has three Specialist Leaders of Education who are available to work with different schools on a variety of projects which include short to longer term. As a federation we also provide CPD courses for Doncaster Teaching School Alliance which are available in the CPD termly directories. We aim to foster life-long learning and develop children to be ready for the next stage in their lives whatever their age. We believe ‘Adventure Starts – Excellence Shines’ and we strive to make this a reality.

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.

Diane Heritage

Role: Director of Professional Learning.

I have experience of educational leadership at school, regional and national level, specialising in leadership learning, collaboration and school improvement.

Formerly Lead Associate for the National College for School Leadership and a successful Headteacher, I have worked with school leaders to inspire and facilitate local solutions with a relentless focus on children’s learning and well-being. Currently my portfolio includes working with Research Schools (EEF), Teaching School Alliances (TSC) and MATs to develop a school led system and secure a culture of evidence based practice. On a voluntary basis, I am Chair of the New Collaborative Learning Trust a family of 16-19 colleges across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Jonathan Sharp

Role: Opportunity Area Lead School Improvement Professional

I have worked in the education sector for over 20 years with memorable and successful experience as a teacher, deputy headteacher, headteacher and Local Authority Senior Officer. My current role as Opportunity Area Lead Professional provides an exciting opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to share successful, innovative ways of working, particularly the use of evidence based practice focused on developing leadership and teaching for the benefit of all pupils but particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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