National Teaching School

Teaching schools are outstanding schools that work with others to provide high-quality training and development to new and experienced school staff. They are part of the government’s plan to give schools a central role in raising standards by developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system.

Woodland became a teaching school in 2012 (Cohort6) this was to build on existing good practice established through our effective clustering as part of the wider SHARES alliance of schools.

As part of our brief we have to look at 6 core areas


1. School-led initial teacher training

We are expected to develop opportunities to provide school-led initial teacher training.

We will:

  • 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

2. Continuing professional development

We are expected to offer a range of professional development opportunities for teachers and school support staff, extending our strong learning culture to schools we work with. These must build on initial teacher training and induction.

We will:

  • 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


3. Supporting other schools

We are expected to lead the co-ordination of school-to-school support. This usually involves working with a school or academy in challenging circumstances to bring about improvement.

We will need to identify priorities in our area and support under-performing schools and academies. Local authorities, dioceses and chains may also work with us to support schools in need of improvement.

We will 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

Information on these can be found in our guide to system leader roles.

4. Identifying and developing leadership potential

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

To meet this responsibility, we will:

  • develop future headteachers to help meet the most pressing national needs in primary, small rural, special, challenging urban/coastal and faith schools
  • take action to help (to 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

5. Specialist leaders of education

Specialist leaders of education are outstanding middle and senior leaders. They have at least 2 years’ leadership experience in a particular specialism (eg maths, 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.

We will recruit and manage the placements of specialist leaders of education. This involves:

  • 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

6. Research and development

To meet this responsibility, we are expected to:

  • build on existing research and contribute to alliance and wider priorities
  • base new initiatives within your alliance on existing evidence and ensure you can measure them
  • work with other teaching schools in your area, or nationally, where appropriate
  • ensure that your staff use existing evidence
  • allow your staff the time and support they need (take part in research and development activities)
  • share learning from research and development work with the wider school system