Teaching School

Upcoming Events

MFL Subject Conference: Getting to Grips with the new GCSE speaking exam for AQA: Secondary phase
Date:  Wednesday 28th June

Senior Leaders Forum:  Tim Gilson: Setting up a Multi Academy Trust: Cross Phase
Date: June 28th

Middle Leaders Forum: How to be an effective Head of Department. Secondary phase.
Date: Monday July 3rd

NQT network: Cross Phase
Date: July 5th

Psychology Subject Conference
Date: Thursday 6th July

6th Annual Teaching Conference: What makes a transformational teacher?
Date: 24th November

Maths Events

GLOWMaths POWWOWWs (Cross Phase)
Monday 26th June (am) 2016 (Primary) & Thursday 29th June (pm) (Secondary)
Venue: Balcarras School, Cheltenham

School based meetings for leaders and teachers to network and discuss a single focus. To book a place, please go online:

#MathsFest17: The GLOWMaths Conference (Cross Phase)
Friday 30th June
Venue: The Chase Hotel, Cheltenham, Glos

Keynote speakers include Professor John Mason (@JohnMOxford), Professor Anne Watson (@AnneWat71150528) and Matthew Syed (@matthewsyed) plus workshops from schools around the GLOW region and beyond.

The conference is FREE for all Teaching School Partners.

To book a place, please go online:

Balcarras Teaching School Y4/5 Maths Enrichment day  
Monday 10th July
Time: 9.15 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Venue: Balcarras School

Schools are invited to bring two teams of 4 KS2 pupils to participate in the Balcarras Teaching School Crystal Maze Mathematical Challenge. Schools can register their teams of four pupils by emailing Jo Newman at .

Further details about all these events can be found in our newsletter at the end of the page

Event Reviews

‘I thought the session was great, Cara spoke confidently as normal and it was really interesting to hear her views on the new specification. It was also really useful to find out what other teachers thought about the new specification and to discuss ideas’

K. Dowdeswell, Cotswold school

‘The NQT programme has been great - as a group, we met frequently throughout the year to discuss pedagogy but it was also an opportunity to get advice from colleagues. We also met with NQTs from other schools which gave us the chance to find out how others in our position were getting along. In my department, I had weekly meetings with my NQT tutor who helped me survive the year. I gained invaluable advice about how to deal with Sixth Form students, and how to navigate the wider school system’ 

S. Load, Balcarras school

On 17th October 2016, the 6th form network met to discuss Level 3 Value Added and the implications of this data for OFSTED inspections in the area. We looked at a full debrief of a recent OFSTED inspection at a partner school, as well as round table discussions on post-16 curriculum design and EPQ delivery. This network is a great chance for all sixth form and post-16 providers in the area to share thoughts, ideas and best practice. An ever growing group has been joined by schools as far away as Bath.

Brett Jouny

The middle leaders forum met in the spring and summer terms of 2016. During the initial forum middle leaders from both primary and secondary schools decided on their priorities for future meetings and had an opportunity to network across school and phase. The key issues raised were dealing with difficult situations as a head of department and life without levels. The summer forum saw a group of over 20 middle leaders from several primary and secondary schools ask Bob Lacombe, an experienced head of department from Balcarras School, questions about difficult issues they had faced. The group had the opportunity to talk about how they would deal with these situations. A group of middle leaders from Woodmancote Primary School then talked about their experience of life without levels and again the forum had the opportunity to share ideas. In the feedback from these forums the opportunity to find out what is happening both across schools and phase has been highlighted as a real benefit.

Gary Towers

A very informative and exciting presentation from Unifrog and FutureLearn explaining the ways in which we can best support our students’ applications to higher education. Sessions were held on personal statements, the right University choice, online courses (MOOCs) and all they can offer, as well as the importance of destination data and the role we can play in collating and storing this.

Brett Jouny

Fourth Annual Teaching Conference

The fourth annual teaching and learning conference was held on 28th November 2015 at Balcarras School and was attended by nearly 300 colleagues from our partnership schools. Bob Cox kicked things off in fine fashion with his keynote address Opening Doors, outlining some of the ways he has seen teachers inspire and challenge their pupils, raise aspirations and deepen their thinking. He explored the importance of knowledge acquisition, the need for curiosity and the new kinds of differentiation strategies emerging in schools.

There were 11 workshops to choose from this year; the organisers attempted to appeal to a wide range of needs so there would be something for everyone to enjoy. The sessions included Shanghai mathematics, middle leadership, providing effective feedback, stretching gifted and talented students, features of outstanding teaching, Geographical Information Systems and developing students’ independence. Feedback from the sessions was extremely positive and it looks like our visitors took something useful away with them to transfer to their classrooms. Plans for next year’s conference are already in gear. We hope to have two well-known educational keynote speakers, including The Learning Spy David Didau. Watch this space for details.

Balcarras as a Teaching School

Balcarras was designated as a teaching school in May 2012. Our aim is to create and develop a professional learning community where teachers from across the partnership feel able to share practice and learn from one another. To some extent this is inspired by the work of Michael Fullan in Ontario, but it also emerges from the considerable partnerships that have been established between Balcarras and other schools in recent years. Our partnership is genuinely cross phase and we have over 30 schools and various other organisations as members.

At the heart of our partnership is a desire to improve teaching through sharing practice, facilitating opportunities for research, identifying common areas for development and acting as a ‘hub’ to tie all of these different elements together. We want to be action centred so that teachers feel that there is a real impact on the ground. We are open to ideas from all partners and see this as vital in establishing a lasting partnership where all partners feel that they have an input to give, as well as receiving tangible benefits from their role in the alliance.

We have already established a number of projects which have impacted on the quality of provision within our schools. Since May 2012 over a thousand people have attended events organised by the partnership. Below is just a flavour of the work we have undertaken so far.


We have networks established in the following areas:

Elen Derrick Literacy Network
Georgina Bruce Digital Technology
Patrick Sexton History Network
Liz Hunt Geography Network and KS3
Catherine Williams SEN Network
Richard Cook Computing Network
Nicola Masters Differentiation Research
Daren Hazael ArtNetwork
Janine Hockenhull MFL Network
Steve Lomax Maths


We have run a number of CPD courses in the following areas:

  • Aspiring senior leaders
  • Improving your teaching
  • Leading a department
  • Lesson observation
  • Literacy in every classroom
  • New heads’ training
  • Promoting higher order thinking
  • Teaching School NQT Programme
  • Pastoral conferences
  • Improving students’ mental health
  • Stretching Gifted and Talented students

Contact Us

Liz Hunt: Teaching School Co-ordinator
Dominic Burke: Headteacher, Balcarras School
Roxanne Adams: Assistant Teaching School Co-ordinator
Nicki Harrington: PA to Headteacher of Balcarras School

School Partnership Contacts 

Andoverford Primary  Lou Bennet
Balcarras Secondary Liz Hunt
Belmont Special Kevin Day
Cam Hopton Primary Melanie Skidmore
Charlton Kings Junior Lee Pajak
Cheltenham Festivals Phillippa Claridge
Cheltenham Learning Partnership Kate Shepherd
Chipping Campden Secondary Dominic Salles
Dean Close Secondary Mark Tottman
Dorcan Secondary Mrs P Morley
Dormston Secondary Ben Stitchman
Eastcombe Primary Claire Jones
Farmor’s Secondary Steve Shaw
Glenfall Primary Anthony Mitchell
Gloucester Road Primary Gayle Fletcher
Gloucestershire County Council Sandra Parker
Maria Wells
Holy Apostles Primary Gareth Davies
Leckhampton Primary Sam Porter
Maidenhill Secondary Pam Wilson
Naunton Park Primary Richard Humphrey
National Centre for Maths Steve Lomax
Pittville Secondary Karen Foster
Ralph Allen Secondary Sarah Hetenyi
St James’ Primary Lisa Harford
St John’s Primary Juliette Moxham
Swindon Village Primary Johnathan Dyer
Thomas Keble Secondary Chris Patrick
Julia Maunder
University of Gloucestershire Steve Winston
Winchcombe Secondary Sarah Teague
Woodmancote Primary Gary Tucker


If you are interested in the work of the partnership the newsletter, which, are sent out every term will give you a flavour of our work.

Newsletter Autumn 2016
Newsletter Spring 2016

Contact us

If you would like any information about the partnership please contact us. Several schools have joined the partnership in the last year and we are open to the possibility of new members joining. Equally if any of the programmes we run interest you please do get in touch because several of them have been attended by non-partner schools.

Liz Hunt, Assistant Headteacher:
Alex Davis, Assistant Co-ordinator of Teaching School:

The partnership has its own website which has more detail about our members and our programme.