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Teaching schools delivered ahead of schedule – DfE

The coalition government has established more than 500 teaching schools, which work with ‘struggling’ educational establishments to get them back on track, a year ahead of schedule. 

In 2010 the government committed to establishing a network of 500 teaching schools by March 2015. This has been surpassed as the government says it has delivered 548 - covering 95% of council areas across England.

Under the £27m-a-year programme, schools rated “outstanding” by Ofsted can be awarded Teaching School status, backed with around £190,000 of public funding over four years. 

Established in the same vein as teaching hospitals, the network of teaching schools is made up of the very best schools - those which are “outstanding” in their own performance and have the capacity to support other schools to improve teacher training, professional development and classroom practice. 

The Department for Education has stated that more than one million children are already attending a school which forms part of a teaching school alliance, meaning they are benefiting from partnerships with other schools in their local area. 

Charlie Taylor, chief executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “I am delighted we have exceeded our target for the delivery of teaching schools a year early, showing the obvious appetite from schools to take the lead in improving the system - it is teachers after all who are best placed to lead and drive improvement both in their local area and right across the country.” 

The teaching schools programme is central to the government’s delivery of an education system where schools support each other and share resource and expertise locally, rather than being dictated to by Whitehall. For instance, they are responsible for recruiting and training the next generation of outstanding teachers; peer-to-peer professional and leadership development; supporting and improving other schools; and identifying and developing leadership potential. 

However, James Noble-Rogers, executive director of Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers, told the Telegraph that he believes the success of any exclusively school-led system has been exaggerated. 

“Too big and too quick an expansion could, if not properly managed, lead to universities self-selecting to withdraw from teacher education. That would be damaging for the quality of new teachers and, potentially, for teacher supply,” he said. 

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