The Thames Teaching Alliance
As a teaching school, we are committed to meet six core areas of responsibility with our strategic partners:
1. School-led Initial Teacher Training
Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is a key part of the Thames Teaching Alliance (TTA) in partnership with the University of Brighton and Canterbury Christ Church University. Over the last three years the TTA has trained 30 teachers.
Trainee teachers at Ifield School are part of a learning community that has a long history of evidence-based practice resulting in new initiatives to promote learning. They are encouraged to make full use of the resources the school and its partners have to offer.
2. Continuing professional development
The TTA provides a range of CPD to support all school staff and governors.
The best teachers are lifelong learners who take responsibility for their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). To help new teachers to identify ways of keeping up to date with the latest educational research and to address gaps in their learning.
The Gravesham Learning Partnership (GLP) co-ordinates and delivers a wide range of CPD throughout the year. Ifield SMILE is a bespoke training facility which offers a comprehensive selection of training opportunities for professionals and families. The library at Ifield SMILE has a wide range of books with information on Special Educational Needs (SEN) and these are available for educational professionals, including trainee teachers, to use.
3. Supporting other schools
Ifield School leads and co-ordinates school-to-school support in collaboration with colleagues from The Thames Teaching Alliance and Gravesham Learning Partnership. Support includes training courses hosted at Ifield’s SMILE Centre. Schools are also supported by TTA's Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs), Kent Leader of Education (KLE), Local Leader of Education (LLE) and the Executive Headteacher in her capacity as a National Leader of Education (NLE).
4. Identifying and developing leadership potential
Ifield School has long supported teachers who aspire to positions of leadership. Staff are regularly given opportunities to take on new responsibilities in addition to their primary duties as class teachers and tutors. Members of Ifield School’s leadership team were instrumental in the development of programmes specifically designed for middle leaders working in special school provisions and, as part of the school’s commitment to developing educational leaders for the future, the school now contributes to the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) and National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) programmes. Teachers who display the qualities required to move into middle and senior leadership roles are identified and nominated for places on these programmes and several of Ifield’s current leadership team have benefitted from the experience of participating in these prestigious national initiatives.
5. Specialist Leaders of Education
Ifield trainee teachers work alongside middle and senior leaders who have been chosen as Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs). Trainee teachers are also members of a teaching school whose Executive Headteacher is a National Leader of Education (NLE).
6. Research and development
Staff at Ifield School are encouraged to build on existing research, both within the school and as part of the wider teaching alliance. The school rigorously monitors every new initiative. When staff want to trial new ideas they are given the opportunity to present them to the leadership team. They are required to complete an action plan outlining the time and resources that will be involved and must also show how they will measure the impact of the initiative for pupils’ learning and progress. When an idea is approved, staff are given the time and support required to pursue their research.
Teachers, including trainee teachers, at Ifield School have opportunities to share learning that has come out of research and development with their colleagues in school and in the TTA. Recent research is made available to staff through the school’s subscriptions to a variety of educational research journals and from lectures and training opportunities offered by visiting speakers as part of staff development days.
Ifield School constantly seeks to improve the learning, and therefore the life, opportunities for its pupils. As a founder member, and now leader of, the Thames Teaching Alliance, the school has opportunities to take part in research, develop new and exciting learning strategies, collaborate with and support other schools and identify and help to train educational leaders for the future. Each of the six core areas of responsibility contributes to the ethos of the school and promotes the best possible outcomes for Ifield’s learning community.
“Teaching schools are strong schools led by strong leaders that work with others to provide high-quality training, development and support to new and experienced school staff.”
Teaching schools: a guide for potential applicants -The National College for Teaching and Leadership.