Teaching schools

Why are teaching schools so important?

The most important factors in raising standards in schools are: the quality of teaching and the quality of leadership. Teaching schools focus on creating and supporting school improvement networks, realising talent and growing teaching and leadership potential within and between schools. This will be achieved by: training new teachers, enabling peer-to-peer learning and school support to help close the attainment gap.

Teaching Schools:

  • lead the development of school-led initial teacher training through School Direct or 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 and identifying and developing leadership potential

At West Herts Teaching School we offer a range of evidence-based professional development oppportunities for teachers and school support staff, extending a strong learning culture to schools we work with. These must build on initial teacher training and indication and will:

  • Focus on improving and evaluating pupil outcomes
  • Be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise
  • Include collaboration and expert challenge
  • Be sustained over time and
  • Be prioritised by school leadership


  • identify the best teachers and leaders from across the alliance to provide school-led 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-led research

We also develop successful succession planning strategies to identify and develop people to fill leadership positions in the future.

To meet this responsibility we:

  • 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

Supporting other schools

At West Herts Teaching School we diagnose and provide high-quality support to schools in need, by quickly matching supply and demand including identification of individuals with appropriate skills to provide high-quality support.

We lead the co-ordination of school-to-school support, including brokerage of national leaders of education (NLE), specialist leaders of education (SLE) and national leaders of governance (NLG) when required. This usually involves working with a school or academy in challenging circumstances to bring about improvement.

By identifying priorities in our area we are able to support under-performing schools and academies. Regional Schools Commissioners, Teaching Schools Council, local authorities, dioceses and multi-academy trusts may also work with us to support schools in need of improvement.

We 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

Our Teaching School recruits and manages the placements of SLEs. This involves:

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

In addition we work with many partners such as the University of Hertfordshire, SAF ITT, Royal Opera House Bridge, The Science Partnership and we are a founding member of the Outstanding Leaders Partnership delivering NPQML, NPQSL, NPQH, NPQEL qualifications throughout the country.