Creating Connections: Learning from successful Teaching Schools

Successful teaching schools create connections at many levels and they make a distinct contribution to system leadership, new research by the UCL Institute of Education reveals. Download report here

A new study, released this month and commissioned by the Teaching Schools Council (TSC), shows that successful teaching schools share the ability to make connections to achieve the aims of a school-led self-improving and sustainable system.

‘The Creating Connections: Learning From Successful Teaching Schools’ research explored the approaches, behaviours and relationships of eight successful regional teaching schools, along with the role of the TSC in leading, steering, facilitating and augmenting successful connections.

Main findings show that there are seven interconnected ingredients of successful teaching schools and five connected areas of the TSC’s role.  The research, which is already gaining worldwide interest, will have several implications for policy and practice: findings can be used as an external lens to reflect on current practice and consider future implications; unique features of successful teaching school system leadership; and the Teaching School Council’s Role.

Key findings

  • Seven interconnected ingredients of successful teaching schools: growing and drawing on collective capacity, targeting sustainability, investing in and nurturing relationships, tailoring approaches, ensuring quality, being adaptive and connecting capacity
  • Five connected areas of the Teaching School Council’s role: purposeful communicator, an influential voice, a facilitating connector, a guardian for accountability and a collaborative system partner

Professor Louise Stoll who co-authored the research with Doctor Iain Banes, both of the UCL’s Institute of Education, said: “Our report shows how successful teaching schools create connections at many levels and how they make a distinct contribution to system leadership.”

Richard Gill, Chair of the Teaching Schools Council and CEO of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), said: “Collaboration and relationship-building are the cornerstones of a self-improving, school-led system. This ability to make connections – combined with seven core ingredients – are unique features of successful teaching school system leadership. These findings gives clear messages and advice for future partnership working, which may be helpful for aspiring Teaching School hub applicants.”

Toby Greany, Chair in Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham, said: “The best Teaching Schools have helped to provide ‘glue’ in the system and to move knowledge and expertise around. This report captures how. So important to share as the next phase in the Teaching School journey takes shape.”