Teaching schools are having a limited effect on raising pupil standards, according to government research published today.
A two-year evaluation of teaching schools found that pupils in such schools did better at both primary and secondary level, compared with those in similar schools which were not teaching schools.
But, so far, there has been no noticeable effect of being in a school which was partnered with a teaching school as part of an "alliance".
The report added that the positive impact on a teaching schools’ own pupils countered the “common misconception” that being a teaching school had a detrimental impact on that schools’ results.
But the research, written by the universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Oxford and Manchester, and the Isos Partnership public sector advisory company, added: “As yet, the lack of measured overall effect on pupils’ academic outcomes...suggests that caution should be exercised in making claims concerning the potential contribution of the teaching school model to raising attainment in schools across the partnership”.
Teaching schools are outstanding schools which work with other schools to provide training and development to school staff. The first 100 teaching schools were designated in September 2011 and by January 2015, there were 598.
Teaching school alliances are led by one or more teaching schools and represent a network of schools and organisations which work together to deliver initial teacher training, CPD and school to school support.
As well as raising concerns about the impact on pupils, the evaluation made eight other key observations about how the programme has developed:
- Schools in areas away from major cities are less well covered by alliances. In some areas outstanding schools are not interested in taking part, while in others there are not enough outstanding schools.
- Leading a teaching school alliance is seen as a worthwhile, but hugely time-consuming, enterprise.
- Universities, local authorities and strategic partner schools have been getting involved in the management of teaching school alliances but most are still driven by the teaching schools themselves.
- Alliances differ in size and scope, and membership is a “fluid concept”.
- Many teaching school alliances had set out on a competitive footing. Now 86 per cent of the 345 surveyed said they worked with other teaching school alliances.
- Teaching school alliances and multi-academy trusts both have important, but different, roles to play in improving schools.
- Teaching schools have been seen as having a very significant role in improving the supply of good quality NQTs.
- There is concern about the vulnerability of teaching schools to negative Ofsted inspections – one in 20 schools had lost their teaching school status by October 2014.