Our Teaching School

St Francis Xavier Teaching School Alliance was formed in 2014, bringing together a partnership of Catholic Primary schools within Sandwell. As lead school, St Francis Xavier was selected by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to become a national teaching school and play an important role in raising standards.

St Francis Xavier was one of only 200 schools in England to be granted teaching school status in the latest designation round.

Mr A. Dickinson, the Head of SFX Teaching School Alliance, said: "We were delighted to be designated as a national teaching school and national support school, we look forward to continuing to work with our partner schools with whom we have worked in partnership with for a number of years: St Gregory's, St Hubert's and St Philip's."

National Teaching Schools

Teaching Schools take a leading role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession, identifying leadership potential and providing support for other schools.

Introduced in 2011, Teaching Schools are all rated as 'outstanding' and mark a shift towards school-centred training. They work with partner schools in an alliance, including at least one university, to ensure high quality school-led initial teacher training and professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career.

Teaching schools work with other schools to raise standards through school-to-school support, engage in research and development, and ensure that the most talented school leaders are spotted and supported to become successful Headteachers.

NCTL has responsibility, in partnership with Headteachers from the Teaching Schools Council, for the designation and quality of the teaching schools programme.

Charlie Taylor, the Chief Executive of NCTL, said: "St Francis Xavier should be very proud of their teaching school status. It recognises the school's outstanding performance and its track record of raising standards through supporting other schools. There are now more than 500 designated Teaching Schools around the country with more to follow. In an increasingly school-led system, they are leading the way in training new teachers and helping existing teachers develop their skills - ensuring we'll have the best people teaching our children for generations to come."

The Big 6

As an alliance, the Teaching School designation requires a specific focus on six key areas. These are often referred to as the 'Big 6' please see a brief explanation of each area below. For more details on the 'Big 6' please see

1) Initial Teacher Training - School Direct

Teaching school alliances work in partnership with a nominated University to offer School Direct teacher training. Please see our 'School Direct' page for more details.

2) Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Teaching Schools utilise experienced, high quality teachers, leadership, support staff, partners and Governors to impart their expertise through the facilitation of training and networking opportunities. Please see 'Training & CPD' page for more details

3) School-to-school support

Teaching schools offer support to other schools at all levels. As outstanding schools, there are opportunities for other schools to benefit from the support of experienced professionals to support school improvement. Please see 'School Support' for more details.

4) Talent Management

Teaching Schools within the alliance work together to identify future leaders and potential across schools. Leadership development programmes are also facilitated to encourage and provide clear mapping for career progression within schools. See 'Talent Spotting' for more details.

5) Specialist Leaders of Education

SLE's are outstanding middle and senior leaders nominated by their Head teacher and approved by National College (NCTL) Nominations made based on experience, a successful track record, capacity to support others and outstanding skills in a specialist field. Please see 'SLE's for more details.

6) Research & Development

Teaching schools are contributing in the field of educational research and development through leading and taking part in localised and national research projects.

Our Alliance Schools

The SFX alliance is a partnership of four schools, with St Francis Xavier as lead school within the alliance.

Please follow the links below for more information:

Our Partners and Associates

In addition to our alliance schools we also have working partnerships with a range of other educational organisations that collaborate with us to provide an excellent support network.

St Francis Xavier's Teaching School partnerships include:

Insight to Learning

  • a collaboration of primary and secondary schools working together across the midlands for the training of teachers

Teaching School Collaborative Sandwell (TSCS)

  • a group of 9 Sandwell Teaching schools working in partnership.

Black Country Consortium of Teaching Schools

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National Teaching Schools Government Logo
Ofsted Outstanding Logo
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