DfE plan to help struggling schools is halved in scale

Cash for 'teaching school hubs' - aimed at helping teacher recruitment - has been cut from £2m to £1.1m

Helping struggling schools: Cash for the government's 'teaching school hubs' programme has been cut

A Department for Education plan to help 2,000 struggling schools has been significantly scaled down.

Under the plan, six new "teaching school hubs" will be set up, aimed at providing support to around 1,000 schools, with annual DfE funding of £1.1million.

However, this represents a substantial scaling down from the original plan, which was to help 2,000 schools with annual funding of £2 million for nine teaching school hubs. 

The DfE told Tes that only six schools met its criteria to participate in the scheme.

A spokeswoman said the decreased funding reflected the number of schools that the hubs would support.

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The hubs will be led by six high-performing schools, which will act as regional hubs and support between 200 and 300 other schools in their areas.  

The programme will run for three years, with a focus on teacher recruitment and retention, and will be tested in the six new hubs starting from February 2020.

Hubs will share a pot of £1.1 million each academic year. 

This is a reform to the current schools' improvement system, which builds on the recruitment and retention strategy launched last year.

Helping struggling schools

It is hoped the hubs will strengthen school-to-school support and help schools boost professional opportunities for teachers and strengthen their recruitment and retention.

Schools rated as "requires improvement" by Ofsted will be eligible for help from the teaching school hubs, but support can be provided to any school that wants to improve standards.

Schools minister Lord Agnew said: “It is vital that we back our best school leaders and help them to support struggling schools so that we can continue to drive forward the high standards we are already seeing in schools across the country.

“These new teaching school hubs will make it easier for the best school leaders to share expert advice and help schools in their local communities, ensuring that those schools facing the greatest challenges are supported as simply and efficiently as possible.”

The hubs are located in five areas of the country, including North Yorkshire, Devon and South Yorkshire, showing the government's "ambition to drive up school standards in areas of the country most in need of support", according to a statement.

The new teaching schools hubs and the total funding they will receive each year are: 

  • Harrogate Grammar School, Harrogate, North Yorkshire ( £170,000)
  • Kingsbridge Community College, Kingsbridge, Devon ( £170,000)
  • Silverdale School, Sheffield, South Yorkshire ( £198,000)
  • Harris Academy Chafford Hundred, Chafford Hundred, Essex ( £170,000)
  • Copthorne Primary School, Bradford, West Yorkshire ( £198,000)
  • Saffron Walden County High School, Saffron Walden, Essex (£197,900)

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