What is a Teaching School?

Teaching schools are part of the government’s drive to give schools more freedom and to enable schools to take increasing responsibility for managing the education system. The vision for teaching schools is to have established a network of around 500 outstanding teaching school alliances by 2014 that will drive significant improvement in the quality of professional practice, improving the attainment of every child.

Teaching schools will play a fundamental role in developing a self-sustaining system where:

  • trainee teachers learn from the best teachers, supported by a culture of coaching and mentoring
  • professional development is school-based and classroom focused – teachers, support staff and leaders improve through exposure to excellent practice within and beyond their immediate school, through observation, mentoring, coaching, practice, reflection and sharing with peers
  • talent development and distributed leadership are the norm – staff demonstrating potential are encouraged to lead and are  given structured and stretching opportunities to grow and develop
  • leaders have local knowledge and can identify where key resources and expertise lie

As well as offering training and support, teaching schools will identify and co-ordinate expertise in partner schools, using the best leaders and teachers to:

  • play a greater role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession (initial teacher training)
  • lead peer-to-peer professional and leadership development (continuing professional development)
  • identify and develop leadership potential (succession planning and talent management)
  • provide support for other schools
  • designate and broker specialist leaders of education (SLEs)
  • engage in research and development activity

Who can apply?

The designation of teaching school is open to all schools in England, regardless of type or phase. Schools and academies applying to become teaching schools will need to give evidence of successful partnerships as well as excellent leadership with a proven track record of school improvement. Both the headteacher and the school will need to meet stringent criteria.

What’s involved?

Schools will work together within a teaching school alliance – a group of schools and other partners that is supported by the leadership of a teaching school. This will include all those schools that benefit by receiving support, as well as strategic partners that will lead on certain aspects National Collegeof delivery. Alliances may be cross phase and cross sector, work across local authorities and may include different types of organisations.