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Teaching schools: a guide for potential applicants
Find out what teaching schools do, what funding's available, how to apply to become a teaching school and how to work with a teaching school.
The application round to become a teaching school is now closed. The next round is due to open in the autumn term 2017.
To receive a notification of the application round opening, register your interest in becoming a teaching school
Teaching schools are strong schools led by strong leaders that work with others to provide high-quality training, development and support to new and experienced school staff.
If you meet the current eligibility criteria you might want to apply to become a teaching school. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has now introduced a more sophisticated and balanced approach to designating system leaders – one which relies less heavily on Ofsted judgements and more on timely and accurate data, and the skills and track record of those applying.
Together these improvements will help to ensure that more of the most effective school leaders and schools are able to provide high-quality support, especially in areas of the country where this support is most needed.
Cohort 11 is a targeted application round focusing on areas of greatest need to ensure that all schools can access high-quality support. If you can provide support to schools in the target areas, even if you’re situated outside of a target area, please specify how you would do this within your application. Your application will be considered on an individual basis by the designation panel.
Who can apply
To apply, you will need to:
- be judged to be a good serving headteacher with at least 3 years’ headship experience
- provide evidence of successful partnerships
- show excellent leadership with a proven track record of school improvement
- have a leadership team with the capacity to lead the core areas of the teaching school role
Teaching school status is open to all schools in England regardless of type or phase, such as:
- nursery schools
- primary, middle, secondary, all-through and special schools
- pupil referral units and short-stay schools
- faith schools
- independent schools
- academies, chains and free schools
- sixth-form colleges
There can be more than one teaching school in an area.
Read the full teaching schools eligibility criteria for further information.
Working with teaching schools
If your school doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria, you may be interested in working with a teaching school as a partner to help them deliver elements of their role.
Strategic partners do not have to meet the teaching school eligibility criteria. But you will need to show that you have the competence and capacity to provide high-quality support in a particular area. This might include initial teacher training, continuing professional development or leadership development provision.
Find teaching schools in your area using the school-to-school support directory.
Teaching school alliances
Teaching school alliances are led by a teaching school and include schools that are benefiting from support, as well as strategic partners who lead some aspects of training and development. Strategic partners may include:
- other schools from any phase or sector
- academy chains
- local authorities
- private sector organisations
A teaching school alliance may decide to work with other alliances to share knowledge and resources as a teaching school network.
Types of teaching school alliance
Alliances can be set up in 3 different ways. They are:
- single alliance – 1 teaching school leading 1 teaching school alliance
- job-share alliance – 2 small or special schools jointly leading 1 teaching school alliance
- multiple alliance – 2 or more teaching schools leading 1 alliance
Alliances with more than one teaching school will agree between them:
- the roles and responsibilities for each teaching school and their strategic partners
- who is accountable for the success criteria and performance against each of the teaching school core areas
- the governance arrangements
We require evidence that all the teaching schools within an alliance make an appropriate level of contribution. This makes it possible to identify the individual efforts that make up the alliance’s performance whenever its activity is reviewed.
As a teaching school, you will identify, develop and co-ordinate expertise for the benefit of pupils across a network of schools, resulting in:
- better results for pupils
- fewer poorly performing schools
- more good and outstanding schools
- a self-improving and sustainable system
Role of teaching schools
Teaching schools have an important role to play in a school-led system and school improvement. Teaching schools will be centres of excellence, taking a more focused role that prioritises:
- co-ordinating and delivering high quality school-based ITT
- providing high quality school-to-school support to spread excellent practice, particularly to schools that need it most
- providing evidence-based professional and leadership development for teachers and leaders across their network
1. School-led initial teacher training
We expect you to develop opportunities to provide school-led initial teacher training.
- lead the development of school-led initial teacher training through School Direct or by gaining accreditation as an initial teacher training provider
- 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
- quality assurance
- co-ordination of initial teacher training with professional development opportunities
2. Continuing professional development and identifying and developing leadership potential
We expect you to offer a range of professional development opportunities for teachers and school support staff, extending your strong learning culture to schools you work with. These must build on initial teacher training and induction. You will:
- identify the best teachers and leaders from across the alliance to provide school-based professional development
- tailor development to meet the specific needs of schools
- offer coaching and mentoring
- evaluate the impact of professional development across the alliance
- offer opportunities for formal accreditation or school-based research
We expect you to develop successful succession planning strategies to identify and develop people to fill leadership positions in the future.
To meet this responsibility, you will:
- develop future headteachers to help meet the most pressing national needs in primary, small rural, special, challenging urban/coastal and faith schools
- help more women, and leaders from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to become senior leaders
- put processes in place to identify potential leaders in areas of need
- develop potential leaders within and across your schools
- build strategic governance and partnerships in order to make decisions about developing and placing potential leaders
3. Supporting other schools
This includes designating and brokering specialist leaders of education.
We expect you to lead the co-ordination of school-to-school support, including brokerage of national leaders of education (NLE), specialist leaders of education (SLE) and national leaders of governance (NLG) when required. This usually involves working with a school or academy in challenging circumstances to bring about improvement.
You’ll need to identify priorities in your area and support under-performing schools and academies. Regional Schools Commissioners, local authorities, dioceses and multi-academy trusts may also work with you to support schools in need of improvement.
You’ll ensure that the best leaders are working to improve the quality of teaching and leadership where it is most needed.
This includes deciding how to use the services of system leaders to provide support to other schools, such as:
- middle and senior leaders working as specialist leaders of education
- headteachers working as local and national leaders of education
- chairs of governors working as national leaders of governance
You’ll recruit and manage the placements of SLEs. This involves:
- identifying subject area priorities within your alliance
- setting up a panel of headteachers to assess applicants
- using eligibility criteria to select SLEs
- ensuring that the recruitment process is fair
- notifying us of outcomes and confirming them to applicants
- dealing with applicant appeals
- organising training for SLEs
- negotiating SLE work within your alliance
- ensuring that specialist leaders of education are providing high-quality support that is having a positive impact
Teaching schools currently receive an annual grant known as core funding. This is paid directly to your school. It will enable you to build the leadership and administrative capacity to lead your alliance. At this time funding is allocated as follows:
- £60,000 for the first year
- £50,000 in year 2
- £40,000 in subsequent years
Funding in years 1 and 2 is higher to reflect the additional costs associated with the startup process. Core funding for teaching schools has been confirmed for the remainder of this parliament. Funding beyond 2019-20 is subject to future spending reviews.
Funding is paid to newly designated teaching school alliances on receipt of signed conditions of designation and grant funding terms and conditions. Payment in subsequent years is made on an annual basis following the completion of an evaluation in the summer term and the return of signed terms and conditions relating to the current financial year. When funding is issued schools will also be sent a grant offer letter.
Teaching schools should note that all funding will be issued under the DfE terms and conditions and payment systems. The DfE is required to monitor the financial assurance of grants that teaching schools receive on an annual basis.
Teaching school cohort 11 target areas
|Derby||Primary and secondary|
|Derbyshire||Primary and secondary|
|Leicestershire||Primary and secondary|
|Nottingham||Primary and secondary|
East of England
|Cambridgeshire||Primary and secondary|
|Central Bedfordshire||Primary and secondary|
|Norfolk||Primary and secondary|
|Suffolk||Primary and secondary|
|Durham (West Durham)||Primary and secondary|
|Northumberland (West and North)||Primary and secondary|
|Blackburn with Darwen||Primary|
|Blackpool||Primary and secondary|
|Cheshire West and Chester||Primary|
|Lancashire||Primary and PRU|
|Liverpool||Primary and secondary|
|Oldham||Primary and secondary|
|Tameside||Primary and secondary|
|Brighton and Hove||Primary|
|East Sussex (Rye, Newhaven and Hastings)||Secondary|
|Isle of Wight||Primary and Secondary|
|Surrey (North Surrey)||Primary|
|West Sussex (Coastal areas only: Shoreham, Worthing, Littlehampton and Bognor)||Primary|
|Bath and North East Somerset||Primary|
|Devon||Primary and Special|
|Gloucestershire||Primary and PRU|
|Plymouth||Primary and Secondary|
|Somerset||Primary and secondary|
|Staffordshire||Primary and secondary|
Yorkshire and The Humber
|Barnsley||Primary and secondary|
|Bradford||Primary and secondary|
|Doncaster||Primary and secondary|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||Primary and secondary|
|Leeds||Primary and secondary|
|North East Lincolnshire||Primary|
|North Lincolnshire||Primary and secondary|
|North Yorkshire||Primary and secondary|
For further information about teaching schools, please email email@example.com.
Teaching school and system leader help desk
Telephone 0800 085 0984
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, excluding UK bank holidays.
Published: 21 March 2014
Updated: 27 February 2017
- Application round has now closed.
- Application round now open
- Application round closed.
- Teaching schools application round now open until 11 December 2016.
- The application round has now closed.
- The teaching schools application round is now open.
- The application round is now closed.
- Application round open.
- Eligibility criteria updated to cohort 8.
- Application round is now open
- application round closed
- application round opens
- The application round has opened and the guidance has changed.
- First published.