Two-thirds fail in bid to join vanguard of teaching school elite

24th June 2011 at 01:00
The first tranche of 100 will start work next year, with others following in 2013

Only a third of heads hoping to win elite teaching-school status will be successful, it has emerged, with the first 100 going live this autumn.

The high level of interest from headteachers, and a Government-imposed cap on the numbers of the new-style schools, means the majority of those applying will not be chosen for the first tranche, those in charge of the programme have revealed.

Education secretary Michael Gove has put the teaching-school initiative at the heart of plans to rip up the current teacher-training system in England and encourage more schools to become involved in initial teacher training.

The teaching-school model is being developed by the Training and Development Agency for Schools and the National College.

So far there have been 300 applications and more than 1,000 expressions of interest. The names of the first 100 teaching schools will be announced next month, and their work will start in September 2011.

Another 150 primary, secondary, nursery and special schools are expected to gain teaching-school status in April 2012. Ministers say that eventually there will be 500.

The schools, which will all have a university "partner", will train new teachers as well as running professional development for more experienced staff.

They will also form alliances with other schools and become a local hub for the development of the workforce. Successful applicants all have an outstanding Ofsted rating.

One of the biggest complaints among heads who have expressed an interest in acquiring elite status is that schools will receive just #163;60,000 in basic funding during the 201112 academic year, followed by #163;50,000 in 201213 and #163;40,000 each subsequent year.

Andy Buck, director of teaching schools for the National College, told its annual conference last week that "we are starting the programme in a manageable way, and it will then grow over time".

"Teaching schools need to demonstrate that they have a clear track record of longstanding collaborative relationships with a significant number of partner schools resulting in substantial improvement across a group of schools.

"Some schools have said the funding is not a lot of money, but the annual grant or core funding is to enable the teaching school to build the necessary leadership and administrative capacity to undertake its work leading the alliance. Teaching schools will generate additional income as they develop and start delivering services.

He added: "It's not about schools going it alone, it's about them working together, and they will be required to work in partnership with at least one higher education institution."

Mr Gove, who also spoke at the conference, said teaching schools "have the potential to generate higher standards than ever before".

"The partnerships being developed between schools and with higher education are already having a powerful and positive impact on the system," he added.

Ashton-on-Mersey School in Trafford has been a pilot teaching school as part of the Greater Manchester Challenge. Headteacher Vicky Beer is applying for teaching-school status.

"We've been doing this for three years, and we still don't have all the answers. We've found teaching schools can't deliver everything to a high level. You need to use the expertise found in every school in the alliance," she said.


Outstanding challenge

Schools that 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 be part of 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 teaching-school criteria.

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