Teaching schools will flop without more funding

29th April 2011 at 01:00
"Minimal" funding for the "teaching school" initiative will leave heads unable to take on the major tasks

"Minimal" funding for the Government's flagship "teaching school" initiative will leave headteachers unable to take on the major tasks given to them by ministers, heads' leaders have warned.

Whole swathes of responsibility for finding and training the next generation of school leaders will pass to the new elite primary and secondaries from this September.

But the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and heads' union the NAHT have warned the programme will not be successful if it is not properly resourced.

Just pound;60,000 will be handed to teaching schools during the 201112 academic year in basic funding, followed by pound;50,000 in 201213 and then pound;40,000 each year.

The National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services, which is co-ordinating the programme, expects the schools to "develop more of their own income" through their work delivering training to teachers, which will generate extra Government cash, and selling continuing professional development (CPD) to other schools.

So far, 1,147 schools have expressed interest in becoming a teaching school. Around 100 of these will be given teaching school status this September, with numbers growing to 500 by 201415.

All types of schools in the independent and state sector will be eligible for the programme, which is considered the most significant change to teacher training for a generation.

But ASCL general secretary Brian Lightman said the funding was "minimal" and would endanger the whole initiative.

"There are going to be potentially quite a few difficulties. In order to do this role effectively, schools will need Government investment to make sure schools have the capacity to lead this work," he said.

"Every teaching school head will have to create time for staff to lead and co-ordinate this, as well as mentor trainees.

"The amount of money they are being given to do this seems very low indeed.

"The National College thinks the solution is a market-based approach, but, in a time of austerity, I'm not sure that's going to be successful. Teaching schools will also be under competitive pressures.

"The reality is they are not going to be able to do a lot for pound;60,000."

NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby shares Mr Lightman's concerns. "The work schools have been asked to do carries a lot of weight, from school improvement to developing future leaders. It's a big set of tasks. The idea that the costs can be met through schools providing commercial activities at a time when other schools are economising is unrealistic," said Mr Hobby.

Schools will get a second chance to apply for the status this autumn, with another 100 gaining teaching school status in April 2012.

A National College spokeswoman said: "Core funding will enable teaching schools to build the necessary leadership and administrative capacity to take on the role - for example, the cost of a school business manager, working across the teaching school alliance to manage the co-ordination of different areas of work.

"The gradual reduction in core funding reflects our expectation that teaching schools will eventually generate additional income through school-to-school partnerships."


College to seek out future winners

Schools which are not classed as outstanding by inspectors will not be allowed to apply to become teaching schools this September.

But they can ask the National College to be involved in a pilot inspection for the new Ofsted framework during the summer or autumn terms.

If they are graded outstanding they can apply to take part in the second tranche of teaching schools.

National College bosses also believe there might be an uneven spread of teaching schools in different parts of the country because some regions have a larger number of outstanding schools than others.

Funding will therefore be given to schools in these areas that do not currently meet the teaching school criteria.

The college will also be "proactive in seeking out other schools" that could gain teaching school status in the future and also in supporting teachers.

Original print headline: Teaching schools will flop without more funding, warn heads

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