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Case study: A model of Outstanding Teacher Education through Partnerships with Schools

Rated by Ofsted as an Outstanding teacher education provider, the Centre for Teacher Education (CTE) aims to be the first choice for teacher education, creating expert teachers and innovation in teacher education which makes a lasting difference in children’s and young people’s lives. The effectiveness of the Centre's partnerships with schools within the local area was recognised as a particular strength by Ofsted. This case study provides just one example of how CTE has developed these strong partnerships with schools.

Department(s) / colleagues involved

The Centre for Teacher Education (CTE).

Our commitment to working in Partnership with Schools:

All colleagues across the Centre are involved in developing strong and effective partnerships with schools. Relationships with schools are initiated, developed and grown through our commitment to effective communication and a collaborative partnership approach to working with schools whilst supporting trainee teachers throughout their teacher education programme.

When rated by Ofsted (2015-16) as an Outstanding teacher education provider, feedback on the strength of our partnership was as follows:

"The partnership is instrumental in leading practice to improve the quality of education in local schools. It provides highly valued continuous professional development courses and conferences, most recently on mental health and well-being."

"The highly successful partnership with schools is very effective in addressing local, regional and national priorities. The strong partnership reflects the provider’s aim of creating a fully collaborative approach between the university and schools at both operational and strategic levels."

The following case study is just one example of how CTE has developed effective partnerships with schools within the local area. Other examples of how CTE works in partnership are stated in the ‘Other Information’ section at the end of this case study.

Our aim was to …

The Centre for Teacher Education places trainees on PGCE courses in partnership schools for their formal assessed placements, which form a substantial percentage of their course, leading to recommendation for the award of Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) status. For university-led routes to the award, all placements are arranged by the partnership function of CTE. The number of Primary PGCE trainees recruited to the course has decreased significantly since the recent removal of primary training bursaries, against a continuing backdrop of teacher shortages in primary schools. A more targeted approach to the placement cycle was therefore appropriate in order to address local demand.

What we did …

Prior to their enrolment on the course, offer holders on the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) are asked to provide details of their intended address for the duration of the PGCE, along with transport requirements and limitations and any prior associations with schools in the region. An additional question was added in 2015 in order to elicit trainees’ intended locality for their Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) post, with the intention of matching a number of them to a group of local partnership schools in Coventry. These schools were identified as having a longstanding record of quality mentoring and support for Warwick PGCE trainees, and were based mainly in East & North East Coventry.

Representatives from the schools were invited to initial meetings during the 2014/15 academic year in order to co-construct our approach. The model was launched for the 2015/16 cohort, after agreeing that school mentors would also take part in the moderation of trainees across the cluster alongside university-based teaching fellows, i.e. in the ‘moderation link tutor’ role. By taking on this role, school mentors have become more fully engaged with assessing and contributing to the progress of trainee teachers from Warwick, and their partnership with CTE is further developed and cemented as a result. A number of the cluster mentors also deliver sessions at the university for trainees, e.g. on provision for children with Special Educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and English as an additional language (EAL).

The outcome has been …

The initial ‘Coventry Cluster’ consisted of a cohort of 18 trainees across a group of 9 schools. This constituted the provision of 54 placements in the locality. Benefits were seen early in the placement cycle, including early talent-spotting, identification of tailored individual support needs and a community of shared goals. Recruitment to the NQT role within the cluster schools was successful for 50% of the cohort, in effect each school recruited the equivalent of one new teacher each from the cluster cohort. Recruitment is a significant expense for schools, and these costs were mitigated by a semi-captive pool of potential new teachers.


The benefit/impact has been …

The Coventry Cluster is now in its fourth year, the Rugby Cluster is in its second year, and we have representatives from schools within both clusters on CTE’s Steering Committee, as sessional teachers at CTE, and as Honorary Teaching Fellows of the department. Moreover, schools within the clusters continue to recruit NQTs from their trainee placement provision. Each of these developments sustain CTE’s Vision “to be the first choice for teacher education. Strongly contributing to teacher supply, school improvement in our local & regional communities…”

This supports the Education Strategy by …

Demonstrating disciplinary excellence in Initial Teacher Education and in developing and implementing an effective model of working in partnership with schools.

The response of students / staff has been …

Schools have informed CTE of the positive impact and benefits of working within a cluster of schools and ensuring trainees are best matched to a specific school within the cluster. In addition, trainees have informed us that working within a school where future employment is a possibility is an excellent way of getting to know the school community ahead of applying for a teaching post, ensuring the best fit for school and applicant.

Our next steps will be …

As stated above in the benefits section, the Coventry Cluster model of schools is fully developed and embedded as an excellent model of nurturing and developing trainee and newly qualified teachers through an effective model of working in partnership with schools.

To find out more, you can contact …

Kate Ireland – Director of the Centre for Teacher Education
Leigh Capener – Partnership Development Officer
Georgina Newton – Associate Professor, Strategic Lead for Partnerships

Visit our website at

Other information

CTE works in partnership with an extensive range of partners including schools across England and internationally, alongside Local Authorities and other educational organisations. The following is a small sample to demonstrate the breadth of our partnership work:

  • CTE conferences run annually and include: Partnerships to bring schools together to share good practice; Research in Action where schools and other partners come together with CTE colleagues to disseminate school action research; Inclusion where the focus is on Special Educational Needs provision and our work with partners on the inclusion agenda, and; a Cross-Phase conference where ITE students from Early Years, Primary and Secondary come together to learn about other phases of education.
  • Widening Participation project to develop literacy in Y6/Y7 pupils in partner schools, run by CTE staff in collaboration with Warwick's Widening Participating department
  • The development of a ‘hub’ model of ITE working in partnership with school communities beyond our region with a view to supporting the employment of high calibre teachers into schools where recruitment is most challenging
  • Science Professional Development Training event run in partnership with an awarding body aimed at Science professionals and teachers to broaden their knowledge about the Science curriculum and examination changes
  • Erasmus + work with Dar Es Salaam University in Tanzania; a partnership to support and learn from the educational context and setting of teacher education in Tanzania