• You are here:
  • Explanation of TS

Explanation of TS

West Hertfordshire Teaching Schools Partnership

The West Hertfordshire Teaching Schools Partnership is proud to be one of the first Teaching Schools to be designated in 2011.  It was initially formed from a partnership between Bovingdon Primary Academy and Hammond Academy.  These schools, now in collaboration with The Grove Academy, Bedmond Academy and Broadfield Academy are part of Aspire Academies Trust a multi academy trust based in Hertfordshire.

The West Herts Teaching School is a growing Alliance of schools in Hertfordshire.  There are currently over 80 Hertfordshire schools in the Alliance.

In a self-improving school system, more control and responsibility passes to the local level in a spirit of mutual aid between school leaders and their colleagues, who are morally committed to imaginative and sustainable ways of achieving more ambitious and better outcomes.
David Hargreaves - Creating a Self Improving School System - 2010

All schools who become members of the West Herts Teaching School Partnership are able to contribute to and benefit from innovative support to help improve learning outcomes for pupils and staff.

Teaching schools have an important role to play in a school-led system and school improvement. Teaching schools are centres of excellence, taking a more focused role that prioritises:

• co-ordinating and providing high-quality school-led initial teacher training (ITT)
• providing high-quality school-to-school support to spread excellent practice, particularly to schools that need it most
• providing evidence-based professional and leadership development for teachers and leaders across their network

In order to ensure a self-improving, school-led system, teaching schools are required to operate by the following principles:

Effective delivery - Each teaching school alliance effectively delivers across all 3 areas of core activity: ITT; continuing professional development (CPD) and leadership development; school-to-school support.

Accountability - In order to ensure credibility and high impact of all teaching schools, they must adhere to requirements set by NCTL and co-operate with necessary reporting processes.

System leadership and engagement - Teaching schools build an effective alliance of schools, and work strategically with other schools and providers within their regional and sub-regional networks to ensure every school can engage in school-led improvement.

Continuous improvement - Each teaching school is required to pursue continuous improvement supported by the peer review process in order to develop and achieve/sustain maturity of provision.

School-led initial teacher training - They are expected to provide school-led initial teacher training through School Direct (as a lead or partner), by running a SCITT or by offering placements working in partnership with a SCITT and achieve positive impact on trainee outcomes.  In addition, drive improvement externally by ensuring newly-qualified teachers are recruited to schools in areas of need.

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:

o access to outstanding lessons and teachers for observation and planning
o mentoring
o 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 opportunities for teachers and school support staff, extending a strong learning culture to schools we work with.  These must build on initial teacher training and induction 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
• dealing with applicant appeals
• 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, the Pilgrim Partnership, 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.

For more information on the West Hertfordshire Teaching Schools Partnership and what it can offer you, please visit our website  www.westhertsteachingschool.org.uk or call 01442 406545 (Option 2)