In the 2010 Schools white paper, ‘The Importance of Teaching’, the Government set out their vision for new national network of teaching schools based on the model of teaching hospitals. Teaching schools are at the heart of the government’s drive to give schools more freedom and to enable schools to take increasing responsibility for managing the education system.
Since then a growing network of teaching schools across more and more alliances has been established nationally; taking a role in 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.
There are 6 core areas of responsibility for teaching schools.
- School-led initial teacher training – take an active role in the recruitment and selection of trainee teachers: have a clear plan for teacher training, including access to outstanding lessons and teachers for observation and planning; mentoring; quality assurance; co-ordination of initial teacher training with professional development opportunities
- Continuing professional development – tailor development to meet the specific needs; evaluate the impact of professional development across the alliance and offer opportunities for formal accreditation or school-based research.
- Supporting other schools – This usually involves working with a school or academy in challenging circumstances to bring about improvement using trained system leaders.
- Identifying and developing leadership potential – develop future headteachers to help meet the most pressing national needs in primary, small rural, special, challenging urban/coastal and faith schools; build strategic governance and partnerships in order to make decisions about developing and placing potential leaders.
- Specialist leaders of education – Specialist leaders of education are outstanding middle and senior leaders. Their role is to support individuals or teams in a similar position in other schools. They help others achieve outstanding leadership in their area of specialism.
- Research and development – build on existing research and contribute to alliance and wider priorities using measures and share learning from research and development work with the wider school system.
The Percy Hedley Foundation applied successfully for this status in 2014 and since then has been working on the following –
Activity in all six areas of focus in 2014/15 has included one FT teacher trainee with hundreds of multi-disciplined students attending our schools and college on an ongoing basis for SEND observation, coaching, mentoring, training and assessment from partners, networks, SCITTs and the universities. We have introduced professional enquiry research and are developing a more structured approach to our internal CPD, and have taken time to examine the external CPD market for opportunities to develop our own. We have worked through the SEND network, regionally and nationally to provided support for other schools struggling with the recent legal and practice changes in SEND. Our own leadership development has been ongoing and senior staff are current with their skills, knowledge and competencies with all SEND issues. We have trained SLEs waiting to take on assignments and have more staff identified across the whole of the alliance, pending funding applications.
We have a very clear mandate for providing training, professional development, coaching, observations and support within SEND practice and further research. From this niche position, we have formed a group with the other three specialist schools in the North East region who have national teaching school status, as well as closely aligning ourselves with other specialist schools and CPD organisations nationally. This forms the USP of our position in a developing open market place within the education sector. Ongoing networking with local, regional and national stakeholder groups will underpin our positioning through contributions at policy and practical developments; and our quality delivery of SEND training and research will provide a commercial income to develop alongside funding opportunities in all six areas of TS focus.
Our focus for 2015/16 is to develop our commercial training for education professionals – ‘XCPD’ , alongside continuing to offer hundreds of students support in many disciplines throughout the alliance; ongoing professional development for staff through research opportunities as well as developmental training identified in reviews; specialist SEND training development for middle leaders/teachers and SENCOs in the local area; specialist SEND support for struggling schools identified in the region; identification of additional SLEs throughout our alliance for training and development; and set up systems with high quality and governance standards to record, measure and evaluate our actions for continuous improvement and impact understanding.