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The Evaluation of Teaching Schools: Emerging Issues from the Early Development of Case Study TSAs Professor Qing Gu © Q Gu.

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Presentation on theme: "The Evaluation of Teaching Schools: Emerging Issues from the Early Development of Case Study TSAs Professor Qing Gu © Q Gu."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Evaluation of Teaching Schools: Emerging Issues from the Early Development of Case Study TSAs Professor Qing Gu © Q Gu

2 THE EVALUATION OF TEACHING SCHOOLS A Department for Education funded study (2013- 15) Research Team: U of Nottingham: Qing Gu, Lindsey Smethem & Stephanie Sullivan Isos Partnership: Simon Rea, John Dunford & Robert Hill Nottingham Trent U: Matt Varley © Q Gu

3 Overall Engagement At least 4,620 schools are engaged in the teaching schools initiative, representing 21% of all maintained schools in England (excluding FE, Special Colleges and Sixth Form Centres). As of September 2013 there were 297 teaching schools, leading 289 teaching school alliances over 3 cohorts. © Q Gu

4 Key Aim of Research To gather robust qualitative and quantitative evidence for understanding the effectiveness and impact of teaching schools and the quality of external and internal support required to enhance these. © Q Gu

5 In Particular… We are examining: the leadership and governance of teaching school alliances the principles of effective partnership development and how these principles have been enacted in practice over time the ways in which the Big 6 have been delivered within and across teaching school alliances, and the perceived successes and challenges © Q Gu

6 Teaching Schools: Staffing Resources Time Money Partnership Policy Funding Governance of TSA Leadership of TSA Resource Management (Business Model) Partnership Development Delivery of ‘Big 6’ Perceived Impact Measured Impact Increased professional & leadership development within & across partner schools Increased partnership competence within the alliance Increased collaborative capital within & across partner schools (knowledge management& transfer) Increased support of local school and community needs & enhanced social return Pupil academic outcomes Ofsted judgement results Other relevant quantitative indicators against the scale & performance of TSA activity INPUTS PROCESS (ACTIVITIES) (Project) OUTCOMES (EFFECTIVENESS) Improved performance against the ‘Big 6’ Short-Term (Project) Medium-/ Long-term Leading A Self- Improving School System

7 The Evolution and Development of the Teaching School Programme in Practice 7 System Leadership Delivery of the Big 6 Developing relational mechanisms in TSA Developing structural & cultural mechanisms in TSA

8 RESEARCH DESIGN: Mixed Methods Research © Q Gu

9 Integrating evidence Case studies of 18 TSAs Secondary research & analysis of all TSAs National survey of TSAs

10 Case Studies Teaching schools – Senior & middle leaders – Pupils Strategic partner schools: – Senior leaders Schools that have received support from the case study TSAs (n=54) The College’s regional associates Adjacent schools that are not engaged with the alliances (survey) 10

11 EMERGING ISSUES From the early development of case study teaching school alliances © Q Gu

12 Five Themes 1)Governance of TSAs 2)Leadership of TSAs 3)Business Management 4)Delivery of the ‘Big 6’ 5)Development of TSAs: Partnerships 12


14 Governance of TSAs A range of governance arrangements operating in the case study TSAs: – Layered governance (Hill & Rea, 2012): Formal accountability & governance Strategic direction & co-ordination Operational management, delivery & implementation – The extent and depth of the distribution of responsibilities and clarity of accountability arrangements differed. © Q Gu

15 Strategic Partners Involving key strategic partners in the formal governance of the alliances was found to have helped to: – spread the workload – increase a sense of ownership – deepen the partnership between the core alliance members – play to the strengths of the strategic partners – enhance the TSA’s chances of other schools joining them © Q Gu

16 School Governors Variation in the extent and depth of school governor involvement from the sample of case study alliances: – In some TSAs, governors are formally involved in the progress and direction of the teaching school alliance. – The most common arrangement is for the head of the teaching school to provide updates to his/her governing body. © Q Gu


18 Leadership of TSAs Building and leading a teaching school alliance is seen as a hugely time consuming, but worthwhile enterprise by the case study TSAs. © Q Gu

19 Moral Purpose For all the teaching school heads or executive heads in our sample, their leadership is driven by a strong altruistic mission to support other schools and through this intervention, make a difference to the learning and life chances of all children. © Q Gu

20 Five Leadership Elements 1.Building a clear vision and a sense of direction within the alliance; 2.A sustained focus on and strategy for developing people; 3.(Re)structuring the organisation of teaching school alliances in order to establish necessary work conditions for their strategic development; © Q Gu

21 Five Leadership Elements 4.Enhancing effective teaching and learning within the alliance through developing the teaching school’s remit; 5.Building, developing and deepening partnerships within (and beyond) teaching school alliances, in order to create the necessary social capital for collective learning and development. © Q Gu

22 Leadership Concerns Succession planning for the leadership of TSAs; Increased risks through the new Ofsted framework of losing teaching schools’ ‘outstanding’ designation and, as a consequence, the infrastructure for support collapsing. © Q Gu


24 Business Management A minority of case study TSAs have set up a separate company to manage the finances, whilst the majority are still holding the money in school accounts. Arrangements for charging schools for services also vary considerably amongst the case study TSAs. – Most alliances are charging on a ‘pay as you go’ basis with no membership fees attached. © Q Gu

25 Financial Sustainability? Sustainability of what are currently quasi-business models is a challenge for almost all the TSAs in this evaluation, with scarce resources of time and money being used by them to sustain and develop the TSA work. The most significant perceived risk is the reduction and uncertainty in funding to teaching schools and especially the potential end of the central start-up funding. © Q Gu

26 DELIVERY OF THE ‘BIG 6’ Theme 4: © Q Gu

27 ITT & CPD/Leadership Development The quality of the provision is seen as having the potential to act as a magnet to attract more schools to join the case study TSAs. School Direct is a major motivator for almost all the TSAs in this evaluation. – alliances had few difficulties filling primary places, although there were challenges recruiting in priority subjects for secondary places 27

28 ITT & CPD/Leadership Development The Improving Teacher Programme (ITP) and the Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP) are well established across almost all the case study TSAs. The coaching approach has been welcomed by the schools and the trainees. © Q Gu

29 S2S Support As a bespoke and practitioner led response to local need – contrasts with a perception from the alliances of an “off the shelf” method of delivery from previous local authority (LA) training and support – is welcomed by the supported schools that we spoke with in this study. © Q Gu

30 S2S Support Major challenges are related to capacity for TSAs to manage the demand (or lack of demand in the local/rural area) and relationships with some local authorities. © Q Gu

31 Specialist Leaders of Education There is clear evidence that some excellent work which contributes to school improvement is being carried out by the SLEs recruited and deployed by the case study alliances. The SLE role is providing valued and attractive leadership development opportunity and experience for excellent middle and senior leaders beyond their employing school. © Q Gu

32 SLE: Policy Challenges Recruitment In some case study alliances there has been a lack of enthusiasm from alliance schools. Deployment – More acute in the primary sector (and smaller schools) where there are fewer resources available to buy in external expertise. – Systematic assessment of the impact of SLE deployment is not straightforward. – Evidence is needed to understand whether and the extent to which SLEs are acting as system leaders in the delivery of their role. © Q Gu

33 Succession Planning & Talent Management The teaching school work is perceived to have provided new opportunities to develop and retain outstanding colleagues within the teaching school and their alliance. However, it has also proved to be a challenge to develop and implement a succession planning strategy on a short timescale for the case study TSAs. © Q Gu

34 Research & Development For some, R&D is seen as generally underpinning all aspects of the ‘Big 6’ rather than being a discrete aspect of the TSA work. – Partnerships with higher education institutions (HEI) were perceived to have provided promising R&D opportunities for them. © Q Gu

35 Research & Development For others, this is an area for further development. – R&D is time consuming and can seem initially daunting for teachers. – It is felt that there is a need to continue to steer R&D towards evidence-based teacher inquiry and joint practice development, and see it not as an add-on but as part of the mainstream school-to- school improvement. © Q Gu


37 Partnership Development All the TSAs in this evaluation have progressed since their designation and are working to develop and/or deepen partnerships within and beyond their alliances. – Such development is driven by a clear sense of direction, shared values and recognition that all partners have talent and experience and skills to share regardless of their particular Ofsted grading. 37

38 Partnership Development The ways in which the case study teaching schools interpret what constitutes the ‘membership’ of a TSA vary. – The scope and depth of different partners’ engagement in the teaching school activity also vary significantly. Relationships with the local authorities and the balance between collaboration and competition with neighbouring TSAs appear to be the major challenges for some to date. © Q Gu

39 Summary 1)Our first visits to the 18 case study TSAs suggest that they have made a good start, and that they are continuing to evolve in terms of the scope and depth of their partnership work. 2)In all the case study TSAs, a collective sense of commitment to the learning and achievement of children binds partners together and drives the development of the teaching school work. © Q Gu

40 Summary 3)There are considerable differences across our sample: – how each TSA partnership operates (e.g. its governance structure) – how membership of a teaching school alliance is perceived – how each TSA fulfils the teaching school priorities. © Q Gu

41 Summary 4)The development of these case study teaching school alliances, at this early stage, also points to challenges relating to the sustainability of the teaching school movement and tensions between competition, autonomy and collaboration. © Q Gu


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