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 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 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

Fundamental principles:

  • a focus on the quality of teaching and leadership
  • a progressive continuum of professional development provision from initial teacher training to leadership
  • a collaborative, school-led approach that sits within a more autonomous system
  • a simple, non-bureaucratic and flexible approach
  • a system that provides high quality training and development
  • an outcome that provides value for money with the potential to become self-sustaining
  • an approach that needs to be an attractive and accessible proposition for all schools