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Our Teaching School Approach


Our Teaching School approach aligns with our recruitment and retention strategy outlined below.  This comprises:

  1. DEMAT Talent Map – to audit the current talent we have across our schools
  2. DEMAT CPD Strategy – teaching and support staff
  3. DEMAT Recruitment strategies – by forming partnerships with selected partners to support recruitment across our academies
  4. DEMAT Teaching School approach


Our approach will be a mixture of:

  1. Being a strategic partner of a Teaching School Alliance where the lead school is non-DEMAT but a school where we have an established partnership in place
  2. Seeking to become a Teaching School through one of our own schools

Our aim is to have geographical coverage across our DEMAT area.

If you are interested in finding out more or becoming a Teaching School, please contact Jacqueline McCamphill, Director of Trust Development at


What is a Teaching School?

Teaching schools are strong schools, led by strong leaders, that work with others to provide high-quality training, development and support to new and experienced school staff.

Eligibility criteria apply, which rely less heavily on Ofsted judgements, and more on timely and accurate data, and the skills and track record of those applying.

Together these improvements will help to ensure that more of the most effective school leaders and schools are able to provide high-quality support, especially in areas of the country where this support is most needed.


Who Can Apply

To apply, the following criteria must be met:

  • be judged to be a good serving headteacher with at least 3 years headship experience
  • provide evidence of successful partnerships
  • show excellent leadership with a proven track record of school improvement
  • have a leadership team with the capacity to lead the core areas of the Teaching School role

Teaching School status is open to all schools in England, regardless of type or phase, such as:

  • nursery schools
  • primary, middle, secondary, all-through and special schools
  • pupil referral units and short-stay schools
  • faith schools
  • independent schools
  • academies, chains and free schools
  • sixth-form colleges

There can be more than one Teaching School in an area.


Working with Teaching Schools

Schools can also work with Teaching Schools as a strategic partner. This would involve helping the Teaching School to perform aspects of their role.

Strategic partners do not have to meet the Teaching School eligibility criteria but are required to demonstrate competence and capacity to provide high-quality support in a particular area. This might include initial teacher training, continuing professional development or leadership development provision.


Teaching School Alliances

Teaching School Alliances are led by a Teaching School and include schools that are benefiting from support, as well as strategic partners who lead some aspects of training and development. Strategic partners may include:

  • other schools from any phase or sector
  • universities
  • academy chains
  • local authorities
  • dioceses
  • private sector organisations

A Teaching School Alliance may decide to work with other alliances to share knowledge and resources as a Teaching School network.


Types of Teaching School Alliance

Alliances can be set up in three different ways. They are:

  • single alliance – one Teaching School leading one Teaching School Alliance
  • job-share alliance – two small or special schools jointly leading one Teaching School Alliance
  • multiple alliance – two or more Teaching Schools leading one alliance

Alliances with more than one Teaching School will agree between them:

  • the roles and responsibilities for each Teaching School and their strategic partners
  • who is accountable for the success criteria and performance against each of the Teaching School core areas
  • the governance arrangements

Evidence is required that all the Teaching Schools within an alliance make an appropriate level of contribution. This makes it possible to identify the individual efforts that make up the alliance’s performance whenever its activity is reviewed.

As a Teaching School it is essential to identify, develop and co-ordinate expertise for the benefit of pupils across a network of schools, resulting in:

  • better results for pupils
  • fewer poorly performing schools
  • more good and outstanding schools
  • a self-improving and sustainable system
Focus for Teaching Schools

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) targets specific geographical areas – Cohorts 10 and 11 are currently being considered.  It is anticipated that the next round will open in September.

There are 6 core areas of responsibility for Teaching Schools:


School-led initial teacher training

Develop opportunities to provide school-led initial teacher training:

  • lead the development of school-led initial teacher training through School Direct, by gaining accreditation as an initial teacher training provider
  • take an active role in the recruitment and selection of trainee teachers
  • have a clear plan for teacher training, including:
  • access to outstanding lessons and teachers for observation and planning
  • mentoring
  • quality assurance
  • co-ordination of initial teacher training with professional development opportunities


Continuing professional development

Offer a range of professional development opportunities for teachers and school support staff, extending your strong learning culture to schools you work with. These must build on initial teacher training and induction:

  • identify the best teachers and leaders from across the alliance, to provide school-based professional development
  • tailor development to meet the specific needs of schools
  • offer coaching and mentoring
  • evaluate the impact of professional development across the alliance
  • offer opportunities for formal accreditation or school-based research


Supporting other schools

Coordination of school-to-school support. This usually involves working with a school or academy in challenging circumstances to bring about improvement:

  • identify priorities in your area and support under-performing schools and academies. Local authorities, dioceses and chains may also work with you to support schools in need of improvement
  • ensure that the best leaders are working to improve the quality of teaching and leadership where it is most needed.

This includes deciding how to use the services of system leaders to provide support to other schools, such as:

  • middle and senior leaders working as specialist leaders of education
  • headteachers working as local and national leaders of education
  • Chairs of Governors working as national leaders of governance


Identifying and developing leadership potential

Develop successful succession planning strategies to identify and develop people to fill leadership positions in the future:

  • develop future headteachers to help meet the most pressing national needs in primary, small rural, special, challenging urban/coastal and faith schools
  • help more women, and leaders from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, to become senior leaders
  • put processes in place to identify potential leaders in areas of need
  • develop potential leaders within and across your schools
  • build strategic governance and partnerships in order to make decisions about developing and placing potential leaders


Specialist leaders of education

Specialist leaders of education are outstanding middle and senior leaders. They have at least 2 years of leadership experience in a particular specialism (eg mathematics, school business management, initial teacher training).

Their role is to support individuals or teams in a similar position in other schools. They help others achieve outstanding leadership in their area of specialism.

Recruit and manage the placements of specialist leaders of education, involving:

  • identifying subject area priorities within your alliance
  • setting up a panel of headteachers to assess applicants
  • using eligibility criteria to select specialist leaders of education
  • ensuring that the recruitment process is fair
  • notifying us of outcomes and confirming them to applicants
  • dealing with applicant appeals
  • organising training for specialist leaders of education
  • negotiating specialist leader of education work within your alliance
  • ensuring that specialist leaders of education are providing high-quality support, that is having a positive impact


Research and development

Undertake research and development by:

  • building on existing research and contribute to alliance and wider priorities, basing new initiatives within your alliance on existing evidence and ensuring you can measure them
  • working with other Teaching Schools in your area, or nationally, where appropriate
  • ensuring that your staff use existing evidence
  • allowing your staff the time and support they need to take part in research and development activities
  • sharing learning from research and development work with the wider school system


Teaching Schools currently receive an annual grant known as core funding. This is paid directly to the Teaching School, enabling the building of the leadership and administrative capacity to lead the alliance. At this time, funding is allocated as follows:

  • £60,000 for the first year
  • £50,000 in year 2
  • £40,000 in years 3 and 4

Annual core grant funding will, in general, decrease each year, which reflects the expectation that alliances, as they mature, become sustainable.

Funding terms and conditions are signed and reviewed annually, including the submission of spending against objectives.