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Report of 'Teaching Schools: Where Are We Now?' Conference

02.06.16

Tuesday 17 May at Nottingham Trent University

Teaching schools continue to be a key part of the Government’s strategy for a self-improving school system. It is five years since the first round of such schools was announced; and they now operate in a very different environment than when they were first mooted. The number of academies has significantly grown, the role of local authorities has continued to diminish, and Regional School Commissioners have been charged with significant role in managing the overall development of the school system.

The conference was organised in response to the final report of the evaluation of teaching schools which was published earlier this year; but it was given heightened salience by the more recent Government White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere. Despite the focus in most reports on plans for continued academisation and the key role of multi-academy trusts, the White Paper also envisages a continuing important role for teaching schools in coordinating high quality ITT, providing school-to-school support and evidence-based professional development, and acting as ‘brokerage hubs’ in a self-improving school system. The number of teaching schools is planned to rise from around 700 to 1,000.

This conference used the results of the evaluation as a springboard for assessing where teaching schools are and their potential future role in the schooling landscape. The lead evaluators, Professor Qing Gu of the University of Nottingham and Matt Varley of Nottingham Trent University, presented their findings, and this was followed by commentaries from three complementary perspectives. Dr Peter Matthews, a former HMI and early influential voice on policy development on teaching schools, placed the development of teaching schools in a broad historical perspective, suggesting where they had to date been most successful, where he judged there is still work to do, and finally, proposing possible scenarios for the future. Andrew Warren, Director of the Britannia Teaching School Alliance and Vice Chair of the Teaching Schools Council, considered developments from the perspective of the schools themselves, identifying past and current challenges and highlighting the role of the Teaching Schools Council in giving these schools a voice. Finally Louise Stoll, Professor in Professional Learning at the UCL Institute of Education, explored what we know about the conditions necessary for schools and the wider educational environment to facilitate deep teacher professional learning and the implications of this for teaching schools and the alliances with which they work.

The presentations of three of the contributors are available here:

Teaching Schools Evaluation: The Final Report - Qing Gu & Matt Varley

Teaching Schools Where did 'we' hope to go and where are we now? - Peter Mathews

Teaching Schools and Professional Learning - Louise Stoll

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