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What is a Teaching School?

Heathfield Community School, Taunton, was awarded Teaching School status by the National College of Teaching and Learning in May 2014. It is the only secondary-based teaching school in Somerset. This is great tribute to the outstanding practice within the school as well as a strong track record of working collaboratively with other schools in Somerset.

What is a teaching school?

The Teaching Schools model is part of the Government’s move to give outstanding schools a leading role in the training and development of teachers and support staff. The aim of Teaching Schools is to work with partner schools and organisations to create a ‘self-improving’ system which nurtures excellence and best practice.

To date, 500 primary, secondary or special schools have been designated as teaching schools in England and Wales.

There are six key areas of focus: Initial Teacher Training, CPD, School-to-School Support, Leadership Planning and Training, use of SLEs, and Research and Development although any new Teaching Alliance would not focus on all of these in the first year.

Members of the partnership

The Taunton Alliance Teaching School is an alliance of primary, secondary and special schools in the wider Taunton area, including Minehead, Bridgwater, Wellington and Wiveliscombe. It is dedicated to raising the aspirations and attainment of schools, staff and young people through close collaboration and mutual support.

Heathfield is the designated lead school, but this is a joint enterprise using the shared expertise, experience and good practice of local schools and organisations. Key partners include the Taunton Learning Partnership (an alliance representing local primary, secondary and special schools), the Somerset Challenge (the LEA’s initiative to raise achievement in Somerset secondary schools), the Somerset Education Authority, and the Diocese of Bath and Wells (representing church-affiliated schools).

There are strong links with other Somerset teaching schools (Wessex and Fiveways, both based in Yeovil) and also The Mid-Somerset Consortium, Exeter University, Somerset SCITT and SCIL - all leaders in teacher training.

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