Nigel Gardener, associate deputy Headteacher, All Saints Catholic and Technology College, Dagenham, London, shares his experiences of being a teaching school.
“‘Teaching Schools’ are schools that take a leading role in the training and professional development of teachers, support staff and headteachers, and contribute to the raising of standards through school-to-school support.
Schools like ours, applying to become teaching schools, will need to give evidence of successful partnerships as well as excellent leadership with a proven track record of school improvement. Schools work together within a Teaching School Alliance, which is a group of schools and other partners that is supported by the leadership of a teaching school. The national Teaching School initiative is made up of a number of key areas. These include:
Teacher Training: We are looking at expanding the provision available to new entrants to the teaching profession, which is indeed an exciting challenge for the Alliance. As the demand for teachers in primary schools grows, a key element in the initiative will be to ensure that sufficient places for trainees are available.
Supporting other schools: We are working on developing a team of Specialist Leaders of Education who will work to raise standards of learning, teaching and management in supported schools. We firmly believe that school to school support is not about telling others what to do, but coaching them towards their own solutions.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Undoubtedly, well trained teachers who continue to develop their skills and knowledge can have a lasting impact on the quality of education accessed by learners in schools. We are looking at expanding these professional opportunities with our partner schools; for example, we are building on the phonics training provided by Chelmer Valley.
Research: Alliances are encouraged to look at what goes on in schools and how good practice can be researched and subsequently shared. We have a number of projects running in the coming year that involve working with university partners in the UK and Australia.
As a school, we have the academic, social and personal well-being of our students at the centre of what we do. Therefore, whilst operating as a Teaching School we will continue to look at what we can do to be an even better school and support, nurture and benefit our students.”