Kim Taylor

Kim Taylor

Areas of Interest

Education

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Education, 2013

Biography

Kim Taylor Honorary Doctor of Education, 2013

Kim Taylor is the head teacher of Spring Common School in Huntingdon, a state special school for 127 boys and girls aged from 2 to 19.

In 2007, while working as General Inspector for inclusion at Cambridgeshire County Council, Kim was seconded to Spring Common School as acting head teacher. She was to lead a process of recovery and transformation at the school, which had been identified by the County Council the previous year as 'causing concern'. This was confirmed shortly afterwards by Ofsted, and the school had been placed in special measures in November 2006.

Kim set about visiting outstanding special schools across the UK to find out what they did well and how her team could benefit, deciding to focus on the training and development of staff. And at each monitoring visit, Ofsted noted the growing impact of her leadership.

After one year, in 2008, the school was deemed to be 'Satisfactory' and in 2010 it was judged 'Good'. A further two years on in 2012, the school was judged to be 'Outstanding in every respect'. Taking a school from special measures to outstanding within five years is a major achievement. This is the third school that Kim has transformed from special measures.

In December last year, when the 'Outstanding' rating was published, Ofsted's Lead Inspector reported that teaching across the school was exceptional. She added that students feel inspired and are helped to make remarkable achievements. Pupils make exceptional progress, particularly in communication skills, when compared to students nationally at the same starting point.

Kim is now permanent head teacher at Spring Common School and provides support and challenge to head teachers of other special schools in the region. She is highly respected by her peers and serves as Chair of Cambridgeshire Special School Headteachers. Spring Common School is now one of the best in the country, placed in the top 11 per cent of schools assessed nationally.



Citation

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Kim Taylor for the award of Doctor of Education, honoris causa.

Kim Taylor is the head teacher of Spring Common School in Huntingdon, a state special school for 127 boys and girls aged from 2 to 19.

In 2007, while working as General Inspector for inclusion at Cambridgeshire County Council, Kim was seconded to Spring Common School as acting head teacher. She was to lead a process of recovery and transformation at the school, which had been identified by the County Council the previous year as 'causing concern'. This was confirmed shortly afterwards by Ofsted, and the school had been placed in special measures in November 2006.

Kim knew she was taking on a school where the large majority of students have either severe learning difficulties or autism. A small minority have profound and multiple learning difficulties, and another minority have either additional behavioural difficulties, visual or hearing impairment, or complex medical conditions. The proportion of students who speak English as an additional language is also above the national average.

Despite the considerable challenges facing her, Kim quickly began to plan for change. She set about visiting outstanding special schools across the UK to find out what they did well and how her team could benefit, deciding to focus on the training and development of staff. And at each monitoring visit, Ofsted noted the growing impact of her leadership.

After one year, in 2008, the school was deemed to be 'Satisfactory' and in 2010 it was judged 'Good'. A further two years on in 2012, the school was judged to be 'Outstanding in every respect'. Taking a school from special measures to outstanding within five years is a major achievement - particularly a special school with very vulnerable students. This is the third school that Kim has transformed from special measures.

In December last year, when the 'Outstanding' rating was published, Ofsted's Lead Inspector reported that teaching across the school was exceptional. She added that students feel inspired and are helped to make remarkable achievements. Pupils make exceptional progress, particularly in communication skills, when compared to students nationally at the same starting point.

Kim is now permanent head teacher at Spring Common School. Although remaining focused on continually improving her own school, her achievements to date allow her the freedom to also take a broader view. In 2012, she travelled to Bulgaria to visit the Karim Dom Centre for children with special needs, with which her school has established a special relationship. While there, Kim and the team at Karim Dom shared their experiences and identified ways to work together in future. Kim also presented a seminar attended by over 80 teachers and specialists from around Bulgaria.

Kim provides support and challenge to head teachers of other special schools in the region. She is highly respected by her peers and serves as Chair of Cambridgeshire Special School Headteachers. Spring Common School is now one of the best in the country, placed in the top 11 per cent of schools assessed nationally.

For her commitment to the academic attainment of some of the most vulnerable young people in our area, Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Kim Taylor for the award of Doctor of Education, honoris causa.