Government pledges £65m fund for new teacher training hubs across England

Tables and chairs spaced for social distancing in a classroom as The Charles Dickens primary school in London (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
17:58pm, Wed 10 Feb 2021
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A multimillion-pound Government fund will be used to ensure every school in England has access to a “local centre of excellence for teacher training”.

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced it will allocate £65 million in funding for 81 teaching school hubs across the country.

The hubs, which are part of the Government’s school improvement programme, are aiming to provide high-quality professional development to teachers and heads, as well as helping to  “build up” trainees.

School staff are set to receive expert advice on how best to engage with pupils, lesson planning and classroom management as part of new teaching school hubs being rolled out, the DfE has said.

Each hub, all of which will be from September, will have its own defined geographical patch and will be expected to be accessible to all schools within that area, serving on average around 250 schools each.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “We know teachers are already providing the best education possible for pupils, and this is especially true while schools are closed to most pupils.

“These new Teaching School Hubs will further support the profession by providing the best possible training and development opportunities.

“It is important that teachers and school leaders feel supported in their career.

“The hubs will make this substantially easier, with expert practitioners able to give experienced advice to those schools able to benefit from it.”

A white board in a classroom in Aldershot (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

On Wednesday, the DfE also announced that projects worth more than £42 million, which help support children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send), have had their funding extended.

The DfE has also launched a consultation on how high needs funding will be allocated to ensure it is directed where it is needed most.

But headteachers’ unions have suggested the funding may not be enough to address pressures on Send provision.

Julia Harnden, funding specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “It is important to understand that this is a relatively small pot of money, and the scale of the financial pressure on special educational needs provision is very severe.

“The Government has committed an additional £1.5 billion over two years but even this is unlikely to be enough because demand for special educational needs support is rising.

“The announcement of a consultation over how this money is allocated is all well and good, but it still doesn’t address the fact that there isn’t enough money for this vital provision in the first place.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, said many of the fundamental issues in the wider Send system “stubbornly remain”.

He said: “We will be calling on the Government to rethink its approach to high needs funding in the consultation it has launched today.

“The reality is, even with the additional Send funding announced by Government, there remains a risk that it will not adequately support those children and young people who deserve it most.”

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