The what, why, how, where and who of teaching school hubs


In February 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) announced its full network of 87 teaching school hubs, creating a national infrastructure for teacher and leadership development.

This article asks and answers:

  • What are teaching school hubs?
  • Why are they needed?
  • How will teaching school hubs help me do my job?
  • Where are the hubs?
  • Who can apply to be a teaching school hub?

What are teaching school hubs?

Previously, 800 outstanding schools across the UK had been recognised for their capacity to support other schools and improve outcomes. These were called ‘teaching schools’. With so many scattered across the country, schools seeking support often didn’t know where to go.

Now, the DfE has allocated 87 schools as ‘teaching school hubs’ – centres of excellence that can each be single points of contact within their own defined local areas. This makes it easier for schools to know where to go for quality-assured support.

Why are they needed?

The Department for Education (DfE) created the teaching school hub programme to be part of a comprehensive strategy dedicated to raising teachers’ and school leaders’ quality and effectiveness and – crucially – supporting educators throughout their careers.

With large numbers of teachers in the early stages of their careers, better support and training also forms part of the implementation of the recruitment and retention strategy.

How will teaching school hubs help me do my job?

With the help of partners like Ambition Institute, teaching school hubs provide school-to-school support in their own local areas on:

Put simply, teaching school hubs will help provide high quality professional development to teachers at all stages of their careers.

Watch Ambition Institute’s Anna Kirk (Area Director for East Midlands and the Humber) discuss what teaching school hubs are and what they will achieve. This content was originally filmed in November 2020.

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Where are the hubs?

The DfE has organised the country into large  Regional School Commissioner areas (such as East Midlands and Humber) and then into smaller, local groups of between 200 and 300 schools, each of which has a single, identifiable teaching school hub to go to. The initial project will be funded for three years, starting from September 2021.

Who could apply to be a teaching school hub?

The DfE wanted the best schools in the system to become teaching school hubs. To submit an application, schools had to have been rated good or outstanding in their latest Ofsted inspection and have above average progress in two out of the last three years. This progress looked different for primary schools, secondary schools and colleges.

Schools could apply to the region that they were based in or explain why they would be able to work effectively in a different region. Schools were also able to apply for up to three different regions, meaning that one teaching school hub may cover two or three regions on the map.

So far, we have worked with approximately 700 schools and over 5,000 participants (teachers and their mentors).

Teaching school hubs and Ambition Institute

We help schools tackling educational disadvantage to keep getting better, by helping their teachers and school leaders become more expert over time. Teaching school hubs will help us get closer to that goal. As school-led centres of excellence for teacher and leadership development, they will play a vital role in raising standards across their communities.

So far, we have worked with approximately 700 schools and over 5,000 participants (teachers and their mentors) and were one of the four lead providers for the early roll out of the early career framework out. We developed high quality training materials which have had the highest level of engagement on the DfE website.

We also delivered the ECF pre-pilot with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to 50 schools and 200 participants, as well as the Teach Blackpool ECF programme. These programmes enabled us to test our approach and apply what we learned to the design of our current programme.

What we can offer partners:

  • High-quality, research-based curriculum and resources.
  • A high standard of facilitation and programme delivery.
  • A strong track record of meaningful and responsive partnership work.
  • A continuous improvement mindset and a rigorous approach quality assurance.
  • A national network, built on localised knowledge and collaboration.

Want to know more?

Register your interest here, and find out how we could support a teaching school hub.

Click here