#APConnect – Year 4: The Skylark Pathway

When we launched Year 4 of the Education and Training Foundation’s #APConnect Programme in June 2021, it felt less like a launch and more like a rocket already in full orbit, so intense was the ceaseless energy and the limitless vision built up over the last three years in the Advanced Practitioner-type (AP) community.

In order to capture this energy and to reach all parts of the education and training sector with its profound, transformative effect, Year 4 offers existing APs – and those of you aspiring to be so – the programme’s new, distinctive Skylark Pathway which will enable you to grow as leaders and to reach out and create your own constellations in the spirit of the #APConnect programme.

The Skylark Pathway

The Skylark Pathway is grant funded by the Education and Training Foundation and enables up to 30 organisations across the sector to receive £3000 for the development of a Skylark peer-led professional development hub in their place of work and beyond.

How to apply

To apply for and lead a Skylark Hub, you must be an Advanced Practitioner, preferably already a member of Constellation C of the #APConnect Programme, although we will also consider APs who have participated in the programme or whose practice and values are fully reflective of the programme principles. As the lead, you will assemble a leadership team which will include three more APs (or aspiring APs) in addition to yourself. You will need to name these three on your application (though if you are from a small organisation, this number can be two).

Why Skylarks?

Our aim with the Skylark Pathway is to establish an innovative community of Skylarks who will emulate the birds of the same name and demonstrate their wonderful distinctive features:

  • they fly ever higher and higher in the sky, reaching out for the stars
  • they sing their beautiful song so all can hear.

Similarly, the purpose of our Skylarks is to:

  • reach out for excellence and the growing communities that are constellations
  • be vocal and visible in sharing the values and practice of the AP Programme so all may enjoy and want to join the experience and use it to achieve educational excellence.

Why you?

This is a chance for you to develop your own staff teams and communities while also building your own professional leadership skills to transformative effect. The Skylark Pathway will enable you to grow in capacity and confidence, while also organising, hosting and evaluating AP-led networks and professional development events such as action learning sets/Ideas Rooms. As part of a wider tapestry of grassroots #FE peer learning, you will integrate into your own and your team’s work some of the approaches that have established themselves as fundamental to the #APConnect Programme over the past four years. This will enable you to learn more about and act with:

  • the practice of values – how to ensure that your values are at one with your practice
  • the importance of constellations – how to spread to wider and wider communities using a rhizomic approach whereby you send out roots that dig deep and wriggle away in all directions
  • the activist and influencer role – how you will gain confidence and expertise in building communities
  • the principles of anti-fragility and anti-competition – how you will lead in a way that provides opportunity through equality and embraces the positive and forward looking
  • the imperatives of co-production and co-creation.

What Happens

With your assembled hub team, you will engage at least 50 named participants in professional learning that must include:

You will be supported by our mentoring team Mary Conway and Chloe Hynes, by Dr Lou Mycroft who will be your leader and inspiration through Constellation C and many other networking opportunities, and by Joss Kang, the director of touchconsulting and overall manager of #APConnect.

The Dates

You can apply by 10am, Monday 18th October 2021.

The Skylark Pathway is funded in this instance until the end of March 2022.

Note from the mentoring team

We very much look forward to working with you and are always here to help. It’s a great community to belong to and one from which you’ll never look back. Find more details here.

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