Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Teaching School Big 3 or Big 6?

    Teaching Schools are designated in cohorts with Cohort 1 in 2011 and Cohort 12 in 2018.  Initially, teaching schools were required to deliver against the 'Big Six' areas: 

    - Initial Teacher Training.
    - Continuing Professional Development. 
    - Leadership & Succession Planning.
    - School-to-School Support.
    - Specialist Leaders of Education. 
    - Research & Development. 

    In more recent cohorts, teaching schools are required to taking a more focused role, within which the Big Six can be tracked, that priorities: 

    - Co-coordinating and providing high-quality school-led initial teacher training (ITT).
    - Providing high-quality school-to-school support to spread excellent practice, particularly to schools that need it most. 
    - Providing evidence-based professional and leadership development for teachers and leaders across their network.

  • What are my national reporting requirements?

    The national system leader newsletter is an essential communication tool to keep you up to date with all requirements. To sign up email

    Teaching Schools

    The Teaching Schools Data Hub (“The Hub”) is now open for collection of the 2017/18 teaching school alliance delivery data. You will need to provide information about your alliance’s delivery for 2017/18 by 19:00 on 24 September 2018. The hub will close for a 4-week period to allow the DfE to extract the data and then re-open late October 2018, for alliances to report on activity throughout the year for 2018/19 academic year. Further information and guidance about how to access and complete the hub can be found here. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact


    The NLE data hub is currently closed while we extract the data and is due to re-open by early June for you to report on 2017/18 deployments. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact


    An updated version of the NLG handbook is now available. This has been updated to reflect the grant requirements for the 2018-19 financial year and includes additional information on what an NLG should do, should they no longer wish to receive the NLG grant. Please review the handbook to remind yourselves of what is and what is not allowable grant spend and ensure that your home school has this information in preparation for the upcoming financial year 2017-18 collaborative fund evaluation.

    Should you have any enquiries regarding this update, please contact

  • What about Quality Assurance and Key Performance?

    Key Performance Indicators

    Teaching schools are required to go through a robust and rigorous assessment process at point of designation to ensure each newly designated teaching school has sufficient track record in the delivery of Initial Teacher Training (ITT), Continuing Professional and Leadership Development (CPLD) and School-to-School Support (StSS). To evaluate impact and retain credibility of your provision, the DfE will continue to monitor delivery across these core areas at both a national level and individual alliance level, throughout the designation period. In addition, the DfE will continue to review the ongoing eligibility of teaching schools through the review of the designation process. 

    DfE have worked with an expert group, consisting of Teaching School Leaders, Teaching School Council members and a Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC), to develop a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide clarity on the ‘minimum’ expectations for each teaching school alliance in terms of ITT, CPLD and StSS delivery.

    DfE will not be formally assessing teaching schools against these KPIs during the 2017-18 academic year and it is not yet clear what the requirements against KPI reporting will be in 2018-19.  DfE will assess teaching schools’ readiness to meet KPIs next academic year, using 2016/17 self-reported data.

    In addition to the KPIs outlined, each alliance is expected to:

    - Adhere to conditions of designation.

    - Sign the grant funding agreement terms and conditions within timescales set by DfE (countersigned by Chair of Governors or Chair of Board).

    - Adhere with financial assurance processes, including completion of required documentation, within timescales set by DfE.

    - Engage with your local and/or regional teaching school network and teaching school council (TSC) representative.

    - Co-operate with the quality assurance activities undertaken by DfE including completion of the teaching school data hub.

    - Produce and maintain an action plan of delivery which addresses local need.

    - Provide details through the teaching school data hub ‘the hub’, of any peer to peer review completed.

    - Recruitment and management of placements for SLEs.

    As in previous years, the DfE will identify those alliances that are not delivering effectively across all 3 priority areas as outlined in the current Review of Designation policy. System leader and teaching school designations will only be reviewed for one of the following reasons:

    - eligibility.

    - professional misconduct.

    - delivery.


    A system leader or teaching school no longer meets the required designation eligibility criteria.

    - National leader of education (NLE) and national support school (NSS) eligibility criteria.

    - National leader of governors (NLG) eligibility criteria.

    - Teaching schools eligibility criteria.

    System leaders are encouraged to take on headship and positions at the most challenging schools in the most challenging areas. If a system leader moves to a school that is judged to require improvement or be in special measures, the system leader will retain their designation pending a review, 18 months after the move. At that time, they will be expected to demonstrate improvements to that school in order to retain their designation.

    Professional misconduct

    An individual associated with a designation behaves in a way that brings the role or the DfE into disrepute.

    The Review of Designation team will seriously consider complaints that allege that a system leader has engaged in professional misconduct. The preliminary stage of any complaints review will determine whether there are grounds for a review of designation.

    The Review of Designations team broadly defines professional misconduct as:

    - Failure to act as an ambassador for the national leader of education (NLE), national support school (NSS), national leader of governance (NLG), teaching school programme and the DfE. This includes, where reasonable, not promoting the programme.

    - Failure to behave in a way that upholds the reputation of the NLE, NSS or NLG role and the Department for Education (DfE).

    Examples of behaviour and practice which may lead to de-designation under the misconduct criterion, include, but are not limited to:

    - Withdrawal from a commitment (contractual or otherwise) to provide support to a school, without just cause and reasonable notice.

    - Actively campaigning against government policy.

    - Failure to meet terms and conditions laid out in the NLE/NSS or NLG conditions of designation including conditions related to past or present grant funding.

    - Withholding or misrepresenting any information in the NLE/NSS or NLG application in such a way that it may have materially affected the original designation decision.

    - Failure to take appropriate action to deal with any reports from client schools or local authorities in relation to inappropriate conduct of the NSS staff providing support.

    - A system leader being involved in behaviour, including that outside of their work as an NLE or NLG, that has or could call into question their integrity or probity. Where an NLE, headteacher or member of senior leadership of a teaching school has been suspended from their post pending investigation by an external body, the designation will automatically be frozen until such point as the investigation has concluded.

    This information is specifically related to the system leader designations.

    Any other cases of alleged serious misconduct of a teacher can be reported to DfE through teacher misconduct: referring a case.


    A system leader or teaching school has failed to provide school-to-school support within the last 12 months.

    Exemptions to this may include the:

    - System leader is suffering long-term illness.

    - System leader is on maternity leave.

    - System leader is on paternity leave.

    - System leader’s school undertaking conversion to academy status; amalgamation, federation or other significant structural change (grace period of 6 months allowed).

    For teaching schools this also includes failure to provide, within the last 12 months:

    - School-led initial teacher training (ITT).

    - Evidence-based continuing professional and leadership development.

    This means they have failed to demonstrate, through annual reporting or at any other time, that the teaching school role has effectively been delivered across all of these delivery areas.

    In addition, it expected that all teaching school and system leaders will co-operate with the quality assurance activities undertaken by DfE including completion of the data hub. Nil returns may result in a review of designation taking place.

    Peer Review

    Peer review is central to the EMSYH approach and the region has developed a Peer Review Scheme, including a diagnostic tool (see below example), aligned to the Big 3 and KPIs.


    The ‘questions to explore as part of developing your initial action plan’ for newly designated teaching schools (Annex A), have been designed as an ‘entry level’ to the peer review scheme. Future self-assessments build on the same suggested areas.

    Contact for further information about how you can get involved in the regions Peer Review scheme.

  • What are the region's priorities for learning?

    The Local Partnership Meeting (See FAQ 15) identifies and agrees priorities for improving learner outcomes. At the time of publication, the priorities have been agreed as:

    Improvement Priorities for East Midlands South[1]

    Leicester City

    In schools with the greatest evidence of need in Leicester:  Improve the percentage of pupils achieving a Good Level of Development in the EYFS  Improve KS2 reading outcomes Improve KS4 outcomes with a focus on disadvantaged pupils.


    In schools with the greatest evidence of need in Leicestershire:

    - Improve the percentage of pupils achieving at least expected level across all Early Learning Goals.

    - Improve KS1 outcomes in reading, writing and maths.

    - Improve KS2 reading progress.

    - Improve KS4 outcomes with a focus on disadvantaged pupils.


    In schools with the greatest evidence of need in Rutland:

    - Improve outcomes for children eligible for pupil premium, including looked after and service children.

    - Improve progress, particularly for higher attaining pupils.


    In schools with the greatest evidence of need in Lincolnshire:

    - Improve the percentage of pupils achieving at least expected level across all Early Learning Goals.

    - Improve attainment of pupils in receipt of SEND support in the primary phase.

    - Improve KS1 and KS2 reading, writing and maths outcomes with a focus on disadvantaged pupils.

    - Improve KS4 outcomes with a focus on disadvantaged pupils.


    Improvement Priorities for East Midlands North[2]

    Whole LPM area priorities

    - Improving progress across all key stages in all subjects with a focus on vulnerable groups, disadvantaged pupils, boys and those on SEN support.

    - Developing inclusive practice and family engagement to support the outcomes, behaviour and wellbeing of disadvantaged and other vulnerable pupils, including children in care.

    - Improving communication, language and literacy development in the early years with a focus on disadvantaged pupils.

    - Improving transition across all phases, particularly for disadvantaged pupils


    - Improving KS4 outcomes with a focus on the progress of underachieving pupils, disadvantaged pupils and other vulnerable groups.

    - Improving pupil outcomes by developing leadership capacity with a focus on middle leadership and governance.

    - Improving the inclusion and achievement of pupils new to the English education system.

    - Improving outcomes for high and low prior attainment pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in the primary phase


    - Improving outcomes in small and rural schools through developing leadership capacity.

    - Improving attainment in reading in the early years and phonics outcomes in Year 1 with a focus on vulnerable groups, disadvantaged pupils and those on SEN support.

    - Improving outcomes for higher attainers in school sixth forms


    - Improving outcomes for pupils excluded or at risk of exclusion, including a focus on pupils with SEND.

    - Improving numeracy outcomes at all key stages, particularly through the development of sustainable leadership and teaching capacity.

    - Improving the transition of pupils to and from secondary schools to reduce the attainment dip, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.

    - Improving outcomes in the secondary phase particularly for disadvantaged pupils


    - Improving outcomes for disadvantaged white boys in targeted underperforming towns

    - Improving outcomes for learners with SEND with a focus on building resilience of both staff and pupils.

    - Improving outcomes in small and rural schools through developing leadership capacity.

    - Improving outcomes in secondary schools including school sixth forms.


    Improvement Priorities South Yorkshire

    Whole LPM area regional prioritiy

    - Improving literacy outcomes throughout early years and the primary phase particularly for disadvantaged pupils.

    - Improving numeracy outcomes in the primary phase particularly for schools in the Doncaster Opportunity Area.

    - Building the capacity and quality of secondary schools in order to improve attainment and progress by the end of KS4.

    - Improving outcomes for targeted pupil groups through inclusive practice and curriculum that improve behaviour and reduce persistent absence and exclusion rates.

    - Improving outcomes for pupils eligible for pupil premium and those with SEND.

    - Improving the achievement of white disadvantaged pupils.


    Improvement Priorities for York, North Lincs and Humber[3]

    Whole LPM area priorities

    Closing the most significant gaps in outcomes between specific pupil groups and the rest, in schools in the sub-region where there is evidence of the greatest need, particularly:

    - Literacy and numeracy outcomes for disadvantaged pupils across all key stages.

    - Outcomes for boys at KS4.

    - Outcomes for SEN support pupils.

    - Improving KS2 reading progress in schools in the sub-region where there is evidence of the greatest need.





    [1] Leicester City, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Rutland.

    [2] Derby City, Derbyshire, Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire.

    [3] Hull, East Riding, North Lincolnshire, North east Lincolnshire, York

  • What is EMSYH?

    In September 2017 the Teaching School Council (TSC) realigned its areas to match those of the Department for Education, to enable a closer alignment of its work, forming the East Midlands South Yorkshire and Humber Region (EMSYH). The EMSYH region consists of 17 mini region/Local Authority areas (Illustrated opposite).


             - Mini region/Local Authority areas 1 – 9, referred to as South Yorkshire and Humber (SYH).

             - Mini region/Local Authority areas 10-17, referred to as East Midlands (EM).

  • What is a Sub-region?

    Prior to September 2017 the geography of EMSYH fell into two different ‘Government Office Regions’. Areas 1-9 above were part of Yorkshire and Humber and 10-17 were part of the East Midlands. In 2017/18, to enable the new region to operate most effectively, learning from the previous practices and approaches developed EMSYH has operated largely in two sub regions, SYH and



  • What is a Mini-Region?

    A mini region is another name for a geographical Local Authority Area. 

  • What is the TSC?



    The self-improving school-led system is at the heart of the government's vision for education in England. Simply put, this means that schools are being empowered to make decisions about how to improve and to work collaboratively to support each other to do so. The Teaching Schools Council (TSC) is a national body made up of 20 members (with either a national or regional remit), who lead and shape the work of over 800 Teaching Schools (outstanding schools which have been nationally recognised for their capacity to support and help other schools to improve outcomes).

    The TSC uses its professional expertise and knowledge of how schools operate to work closely with government ministers and senior officials towards our goal of ensuring that every child goes to a great school.

  • Who are the EMSYH TSC regional representatives?

    TSC regional representatives work with regional school’s commissioners to help deliver school improvement on the ground, and with other agencies such as Ofsted, local authorities and dioceses. TSC regional representatives, are serving school leaders of designated teaching schools, elected by teaching schools in their region. The EMSYH region has two representatives,

    - Chris Wheatley, from Cotgrave Candleby Lane Teaching School in Nottinghamshire, with a remit for EMSYH and a lead for the EM sub region.

    - Chris Abbott, from The Wolds Teaching School Alliance in East Riding, who supports Chris Weatley in his regional role and is the lead for the SYH sub region.

    TSC regional representatives are supported by the TSC regional team.

  • Who is the TSC Regional Team?

    The TSC regional team provides additional capacity to support the school led system at regional and local levels.

    The team is led by a Regional Strategic Co-ordinator, currently Kate Mckenna, who’s role is to:

    - Provide the EMSYH TSC representatives with additional strategic leadership capacity including oversight of the Business Support Partner.

    - Facilitate, develop and support relationships with senior stakeholders including the DfE (The Regional Schools Commissioner and Regional Delivery Division), Ofsted, Local Authority Colleagues and Diocesan Boards.

    - Support the delivery of Strategic School Improvement activity including support for any regional infrastructure e.g. Local Partnership Meetings (LPMs).

    - Challenge and support the maturity of Local Hubs, holding Local Hub Leads to account for local delivery of TSC commissions and representation of their constituency.

    - Serve as representative for the region as required.

    The region is supported by the EMSYH Business Support Partner (BSP). SDSA is currently the commissioned organisation that provides the region’s Business Support Partner function led by Ellen Lee and primarily supported by Becky Smith. SDSA has a team of other colleagues who can be deployed to support the region where needed. The role of the BSP is to support EMSYH teaching schools by:

    - Establishing, maintaining and developing an EMSYH regional knowledge hub to support the region and its network of local hubs in planning, decision making and securing of sustainability funding.

    - Supporting the infrastructure.

    - Supporting delivery (including, but not exclusively, TSC commissions).

    The EMSYHstrategy for supporting Stronger Governance is currently led by Jane Lewis, the EMSYH Regional Stronger Governance Champion, who’s role is to:

    - Promote and lead the NLG regional approach including the development, support and quality assurance of a network of Area-Based NLG Co-ordinators. Area Based NLG Co-ordinators provide a mechanism for linking to Local Hubs.

    - Mobilise and support the brokerage of NLGs by TSAs.

    - Lead the mapping and growth strategy for NLGs across the region.

    Area Based NLG Co-ordinators currently work in the following geographical patches, North Humber, South Humber, South Yorkshire, Nottingham/Nottinghamshire, Derby/Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicester/Leicestershire/Rutland.

  • What is a Strategic Teaching School Group?

    To enable local hubs to feed into sub regional and regional structures there is a network of Strategic Teaching School Groups, chaired by serving school leaders. These are currently the East Midlands Teaching Schools Alliances Strategic Group (EMTSSG), the Joint South Yorkshire Group and the Joint York and Humber Group. These strategic groups provide a forum for representatives to come together and feed voices from the sector into local, sub regional and regional activity and messages from national policy back into the system.

    Historically colleagues in the East Midlands have benefited from the East Midlands Teaching School Alliances (EMTSA) Network, established by Cohort 1 designated colleagues, self-funding and open to all EM teaching schools. The EMTSA Network provides a valuable broad support and networking function.

  • What is the EMSYH Teaching Schools Strategic Board

    The EMSYH Teaching Schools Strategic Board was established as a Limited Company to provide the region with transparency of spend of the TSC Regional Delivery Grant[1]. Company directors are representatives from the regions teaching schools. The company is also able to income generate and ‘bid’ for external funding thus providing a vehicle for sustainability of the work the region is undertaking beyond the life of ringfenced grants. All teaching schools in EMSYH are automatically given member status. There is no membership fee.

    The ‘Company’ does not oversee individual teaching schools core grant.

    [1] Funding provided to the region to carry out its core commissioned functions and activities

  • What is a Research School?

    Research Schools aim to lead the way in the use of evidence-based practice and bring research closer to schools. They work with the other schools in their network to help them to make better use of evidence to inform their teaching and learning. Research schools have three key aims: communication, training and innovation.

    Communication – They keep in regular contact with schools in their network, for example by sending out monthly newsletters, supported by content provided by Institute for Effective Education (IEE) and Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), detailing interventions that have been proven to work.

    Training – They run conferences and provide training and professional development to teachers and senior leaders in their local areas.

    Innovation – They support schools in developing new ways of improving teaching and learning, in evaluating the impact of these innovations – and in applying for research grants, such as the IEE innovation evaluation grants, which are awarded three times a year.

    Schools have to apply to become a research school, with successful applicants shortlisted and interviewed. Applicants need to have the capacity and reach to connect with up to 200 schools in their respective regions. Research schools are constantly looking to grow their networks through conferences and events, and actively encourage schools in their area to get in touch.

    There are four Research Schools in EMSYH;

    - Kyra Research School in Lincolnshire.

    - Huntington Research School in York.

    - Doncaster Research School.

    - Derby Research School.

  • How do Partners link into the Region's Work?

    The EMSYH Regional Education Summit Group brings together key leaders within the current education system. They meet on a voluntary basis 3-4 times per year, recognising that the education landscape is subject to on-going significant change and that greater coherence is more likely if the significant partners and their organisations communicate and collaborate effectively.

    The Education Summit aims to:

    - Create greater coherence and connectivity between different elements and policies within the education system to influence its development.

    - Exercise shared accountability and joint watch-care over the performance of the system.

    - Identify problem issues and blockages to improvement and act upon them.

    - Create expectations for the working arrangements of sub-regional and local education partnerships.

    - Take issues and key messages ‘up’ and ‘down’ the system, e.g. both to national organisations and to local and sub-regional partnerships.

    At the time of publication, members of the summit were:


  • Can you draw a picture to help me understand?


  • How do I Get Connected?

    The region believes that connectivity is key to securing improvement for all our learners. A mainstay of our ambition is that, all our schools are givers and receivers of support, every school having something to gain and something to share. Connectivity can be to a range of partners, Teaching Schools, NLEs/NSS, MATs, LAs, DBEs and a range of other networks and clusters. We believe that what is important is that we develop our collective and individual capacity to identify those most in need and provide support by those most equipped to give it.

    You can get connected via your local hub lead or via email at

    Follow on twitter - the TSC @TeachSchCouncil and the EMSYH region @TSCEMids_Humber.  Set up your own Twitter feed and follow colleagues.


    Look at colleagues landing pages on the portal to see what they are doing.

  • What is the portal and the e-bulletin?

    The portal is a regionally developed, open access, website that provides a ‘window to the world’ to the important work that we are undertaking. The portal is managed by the region’s BSP and provides a wealth of invaluable information and data, via the knowledge hub, to support planning and delivery purposes. Each designated teaching school has an individual ‘landing page’ that can be used to spring board to your local website.

    The e-bulletin is an attempt to coordinate our communications with the region and to ensure that you do not miss important information, actions and opportunities that could otherwise get lost in all the ‘traffic’. This e-bulletin includes information that we are asked to share, by national colleagues including the DfE and TSC, and often includes opportunities to get involved in activity, sometimes accompanied by funding. Where at all possible we try to avoid contact outside of this weekly publication which is also posted on the portal, so you can easily access back copies.

    We understand that it is sometimes difficult to find time to read the e-bulletin, but we would urge you to try and do so as otherwise you may miss opportunities for engagement in regional or local activities. We are also happy for you to forward the e-bulletin to all those who you think will find it useful and interesting.

    To assist in this process, we commit to publishing the e-bulletin weekly, so you know to look out for it. If we have no content, we will still let you know so you don’t have to worry that you have missed it.

    We are trying to categorise articles and provide hyperlinks where possible to make it more streamlined and accessible. To ensure you are on the mailing list and to provide any feedback and suggestions, please email



  • How is the Region Funded and Reported?

    EMSYH receives Regional Delivery Grant (RDG) for the TSC to carry out the TSC commissions. Delivery against TSC commissions is currently shared between the regional TSC team and Local Hubs, with 50% of the regions funding passported into the system.

    The RDG is separate to individual teaching school core grant.

  • What is a TSC Commission?

    The TSC commissions the region to deliver centrally identified activity, using the RDG.

    Commissions generally fall into several main areas:

    - Regional strategy and delivery - developing the school led system.

    - Supporting growth and development of system leadership - targeting, market warming, designation, induction and Quality Assurance of system leaders.

    - Succession planning - Leadership development including women leading education.

    - Delivering improvement activity – Strategic School Improvement Fund.

    The funding passported to local hubs and leads is to deliver these commissions. Hubs report to the region who in turn report quarterly to the DfE.