A teaching school is an outstanding school that has a strong track record of collaborative working, and has been designated by us to play a key role in the leadership of a teaching school alliance. This new designation gives outstanding schools the role of leading the training and professional development of teachers, support staff and headteachers as well as contributing to the raising of standards through school-to-school support. Teaching schools will bring together provision for training and development from initial teacher training (ITT) through to headship under a single school designation.
In 2009, following consultation with schools, we drew up proposals for a new single designation for schools with the Teaching Agency for Schools. Subsequently, the Schools White Paper (December 2010) outlined the government’s plans to raise standards and improve the quality of teachers and school leadership through school-to-school support, and peer-to-peer learning. As part of these plans we have been asked to develop and quality assure the designation of teaching schools. The first year of the programme (until September 2012) will be considered a design and development year. More information on the background and vision for teaching schools can be found on the vision and background page.
We believe it is important that schools of all types have the opportunity to share their skills, expertise and knowledge to support the wider school system, provided they meet the criteria. We are looking for outstanding schools, with a strong track record of collaborative working. Please see the eligibility criteria for full details.
No. You do not need to be a national leader of education (NLE)/national support school (NSS) in order to become a teaching school. However, national support schools may find that the school-to-school support experience they gain will help them with a future teaching school application. This year we are offering schools the option to apply for both the NLE/NSS programme and teaching schools designation using a single application form. If you apply through this route we will assess your eligibility for both programmes.
Applications are made online via our website. We have published some application guidance which provides information on the application process and also explains how applications will be assessed, including gathering anonymous feedback on applicants’ suitability to become teaching schools. Any school that applies may also be subject to a visit to explore and verify information provided in the application form. Please see the apply page for more information.
The apply page has information about the next application round.
In the first application round, we gave schools the option of making a job-share application together with one other school. However, in response to feedback from schools, we have decided to remove the cap on the number of teaching schools that can be designated in any one alliance. Rather than offer the job-share option where only two schools could be designated, we will now allow any number of teaching schools to be designated within one alliance. Each teaching school designated in this way will still need to demonstrate that it meets all of the eligibility criteria. We hope this change will make the model even more flexible, without lowering the quality of the teaching schools we designate.
In submitting an application where more than one school is applying to become designated as a teaching school, the alliance will need to decide which school makes the application on its behalf. This school will also be the school that is held accountable, in the first instance, for any funding that is granted to the alliance. In the event that one of the teaching school applicants is not designated, the unsuccessful school will still be able to work as a strategic partner within the alliance.
Yes. However it is worth bearing in mind that if, in any application round, the number of applications that meet the eligibility criteria exceeds the number of places available, a prioritisation process will be used. This fair and transparent process will take into consideration geographic coverage and representation of rural and urban contexts, as well as the representation of different types and phases of school, and the need to reflect the broad socio-economic mix of schools nationally.
The criteria have been agreed by the Secretary of State and although at some point in the future we may be able to recommend that ministers review the criteria again, for the time being they are fixed. If you do not meet the criteria you may wish to consider becoming a strategic partner for another teaching school, which means you will still be able to take a lead role as part of a teaching school alliance.
There are some other options for schools that do not meet the criteria, including requesting an additional Ofsted inspection or applying for funding to help you build your capacity.
Above all, it is important to remember that the model is not about one school doing it all. We very much see the model being about the establishment of strong teaching school alliances, with schools working together to deliver high quality training and development.
Designation will usually be for four years, subject to teaching schools continuing to meet the criteria and carrying out the role effectively. The term is also dependent upon continuation of government funding. In order to ensure momentum in a teaching school’s work (for example initial teacher training), the timing of re-assessment and re-designation, where appropriate, will be carefully managed.
If the headteacher of a teaching school leaves, the teaching school will not automatically lose its designation, however we will undertake an assessment to evaluate the capacity of the school to continue to support the work of the alliance.
Further information about the review of designation process, including the policy and teaching schools de-designation criteria can be found on our review of designation page.
Yes. A process is already in place for making an appeal against judgements made by the teaching schools designation panel. There is also a process in place for making an appeal against judgements made by the teaching schools de-designation panel Details on both these processes can be found in the teaching schools designation appeals procedure.
An alliance is a group of schools and other partners that commit to working collaboratively, supported by one or more teaching schools. It includes all those schools that benefit from the alliance by receiving support, as well as teaching schools and strategic partners that offer support. Alliances may be cross phase and cross sector, work across local authorities and may include different types of organisations. As specialist leaders of education (SLEs) can come from any school, we anticipate that over time most schools will be receiving and offering support to an alliance in one form or another.
Yes. There are no rules around this and it is for schools themselves to agree. A school can belong to more than one teaching school alliance. A school could even be a strategic partner for more than one teaching school. If they wish, a school could decide at any point to leave one alliance and join another. Finally, a school that is part of an alliance could apply to become a teaching school themselves at a later date.
Strategic partners are schools, universities and others (that could include the academy chains, private sector, diocese or local authorities) that deliver particular aspects of the alliance’s activity such as ITT, continuing professional development (CPD), leadership development or school-to-school support.
The school making the teaching school application will be asked to name any strategic partners working with them to deliver aspects of their proposed teaching schools provision. It is therefore important that they make you aware of what is involved before you agree to join their alliance on this basis. We will not play a role in this part of the process. The onus is on the teaching school applicant to organise their proposed alliance, including details of their proposed strategic partners, prior to submitting their application. Teaching schools may have any number of strategic partners – there are no upper or lower limits - this is down to the individual teaching school applicant to decide, depending on their capacity to deliver.
Overall, the teaching schools vision is about working collaboratively to ensure improvement across the system. We think that potentially every school can benefit from this new approach. If this approach is a success, teaching school alliances will help to:
This will lead to: