Air – Academics in Residence


On 9th December last year 2017 I posted this Tweet:

“Friend & colleague @dr_ddennis is an educational “Professor in Residence.”  Brilliant idea! Professors and Professionals in Joint Practice Development. Let’s do this in more schools! What do you think?”

There was some immediate interest in this idea and I was left with this question from one of my #EduHeros  @janetifimust 

“Sounds like an interesting idea – what does it involve?”

My reply:

“I’m certainly no expert here, but #ProfessorsInResidence would involve Professors making closer links with a school, e.g. to present at teacher staff meetings so that research directly connects with practice!

One of the questions I was asked subsequently was would it be a problem if individuals were not actually professors. I did not think this would be a problem, but to overcome this I propose that we change to name to Academics in Residence. Which makes the lovely Acronym – AIR!

Keeping things simple what I imagine is that we at The Kite Teaching School Alliance @kitetsa will maintain a data base for those academics who are willing to visit schools and share their expertise and research findings, and a list of schools who would like to have visiting academics working with them to share a particular area of expertise. These would also be listed on the data base. (A sort of academics/schools dating service!)

We are planning to have an AIR (Academics in Residence) page on the next iteration of our Kite TSA website and we will also create a simple Memorandum of Understanding that will also appear on the page. Here’s what it might look like, but your ideas would also be welcome,

To be part of the Academics in Residence scheme:


  • Will be willing to work with a school at least three times over the course of an academic year, sharing their knowledge on a particular educational area
  • Will work with the school to decide on the nature of that work e.g. Twilight Teacher Meeting, INSET day, Classroom Activity, and agree the possible outcomes with the receiving school and ensure this is planned over the three terms
  • Safeguarding and induction arrangements will be provided by the receiving school
  • Will display the AIR logo on their University website


  • Will ensure that there are a minimum of three occasions for the Academic to work with the school
  • Will integrate the AIR offer into the Continued Professional Development and Leadership offer in the school, so that it adds value to the CPDL offer for teachers
  • Will ensure that a careful, kind and considerate induction is in place including Safeguarding procedures
  • Will display the AIR logo on their School website

The aim of this initiative is to forge closer meaningful links between Universities and Schools as well as to ensure that findings from research are not only shared with schools but that schools authentically use the research to inform and improve pedagogy and practice making a difference to the outcomes and opportunities for young people.

In addition, schools that are part of the AIR project will be prepared to accommodate Research activity and this will again strengthen the link between researchers, professors and practitioners.

In the next few weeks we are planning to work with our wonderful friend Sarah Bevan at Purple Spoon to design the logo for AIR and we will  launch the initiative at The Cambridgeshire Festival of Education on Saturday 9th June 2018 at Cambridge Faculty of Education who are kindly hosting  @cambsedfest at Homerton College, Cambridge University.

AIR will be a not for profit activity which aims to create a virtuous loop between Universities and Schools, Academics & Practitioners.

Please let me know what you think, particularly on what needs to be clarified or improved to be ready for the launch in June. Please tell us if your school, University or you would like to be part of AIR, to be included on the data base and let us also know the area of expertise that you are willing to share

Many thanks

Rae Snape


Headteacher/National Leader of Education

The Spinney Primary School, The Kite Teaching School Alliance

CEO Designate Innovation Trust