John Taylor High School selected to provide high-quality professional development to teachers and leaders.

John Taylor High School is one the 81 schools in England selected to be designated as a new teaching school hub.

Teachers across the country will benefit from vital developmental support and expert advice, allowing them to improve a broad range of vital teaching skills, under plans announced by the Department for Education today.

The teaching workforce will get best-practice and expert advice on how best to engage with pupils, lesson planning, and classroom management, as the teaching school hubs programme is rolled out across the country.

Katie Cochrane, Head of School at John Taylor High School said,

We are delighted to have been selected as one of the new Teaching School Hubs and look forward to working collaboratively with various partners, to explore the opportunities that arise from this designation.

The Chair of the Local Governing Body at John Taylor High School Barbara Richardson said

John Taylor High School, through the National Forest Teaching School and Research School, has a track record of delivering high quality professional development for teachers. This is an exciting opportunity for this expertise and good practice to be shared widely and support teachers and school leaders deliver the best possible education to pupils.

The teaching school programme was announced in 2019 and was followed by a procurement to successfully appoint six test and learn hubs (appointed in January 2020).

The 81 new hubs will be rolled out in addition to those six existing test & learn TSH, meaning there will be nationwide coverage for the first time, and that every school in England will now have access to a local centre of excellence for teacher training.

81 hubs will be added in all corners of the country to provide high-quality professional development to teachers and leaders at all stages of their career and play a key role in helping to build up trainee teachers as they enter the workforce. The Department for education believe that this will further level up the quality of teaching, allowing every child to receive a world-class start in life no matter where they are born.

Each hub, all of which will be operational and helping schools from this 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. For John Taylor, this region includes the districts of Cannock Chase, Lichfield, East Staffordshire, Tamworth, Nuneaton and Bedworth and North Warwickshire.

Mike Donoghue, CEO of John Taylor MAT confirmed the Trust’s commitment to work collaboratively and strategically across the region.

This outcome is both a validation of our track record of high-quality delivery, and a confirmation from the Department of Education that we have a key role to play in the new landscape. We will do all we can to support all schools within the hub area – and beyond.”

The Chair of John Taylor MAT Gareth Moss added

John Taylor MAT is delighted that John Taylor High School has been successful in this competitive process. The MAT has always valued the links our Schools have with our own Teaching and Research Schools and to have the quality of our work recognised with this success is something we are very proud of. We will use the Teaching School Hub to further our ambition to produce the best quality teachers, providing the best quality teaching & learning to all pupils.

Further Reading

John Taylor MAT Successful in Further Free School Application

A new “All Through” free school planned for Rugeley will open in September 2023 as part of the John Taylor Multi-Academy Trust (JTMAT), the Department for Education has announced. This is the only “All-Through” school to be announced in the new wave of successful applications.

The school will be built on the former Power Station site, and will eventually accommodate 1400 pupils plus a nursery.

It is being built in response to increased demand for school places in the area.

JTMAT were announced as the successful sponsor after an application process, appraised by a panel that included representatives from the Department for Education, and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The John Taylor Multi Academy Trust already runs a number of successful primary and secondary schools in Staffordshire and South Derbyshire, including the £30 million John Taylor Free School in Burton, opened in September 2018.

CEO of the Trust, Mike Donoghue expressed his delight upon receiving the confirmation of the Trust’s success:

We are naturally excited and extremely proud to have been given the responsibility to lead the new school at Rugeley. With a growing Trust that currently comprises many local good and outstanding primary and secondary schools, and a track record of successfully delivering a large Free School, we felt that we were well-placed to offer an exciting, high quality, and innovative offer to the children and families in the area. Focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from nursery through to Sixth Form, we will do all that we can to make this school outstanding and stand out. I’m delighted that, after a rigorous application and interview process, the selection panel agreed.

Now the work begins in earnest to fulfil our vision to create the best school we possibly can. The application was very much a team effort, and so will be our work to deliver the school to the community. We look forward to working alongside our partner organisations to make all this happen. We couldn’t be more thrilled.

Chair of John Taylor MAT, Gareth Moss added:

John Taylor Multi Academy Trust is delighted to have been awarded this very exciting opportunity. We have a track record of delivering high quality education across our schools and are proud of the achievements and progress we have made. We are tremendously excited to bring that experience and ambition to this exciting opportunity. The creation of a community on the old Power Station site is a unique time and one off chance to do something special and we will play our part to the full on this

County Councillor Philip White, Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said:

This school will be the first all-through school to be built in Staffordshire offering a much more seamless progress through their children’s school careers. I am very pleased that John Taylor Multi Academy Trust are ready to take on this challenge, and create a school that really sits at the heart of the local community.

JTMAT have a proven track record in delivering high-quality education, and an understanding of the challenges that can be faced in developing a brand new school. The new school will support the future need for school places for a growing community and will increase choice and diversity for families. We look forward to working with them on this project.

The new All Through school is due to open to nursery, reception and Year 7 pupils in September 2023.

The Trust welcomes enquires about the All Through Free School. Please e-mail to express interest in admissions or employment opportunities.

For further information contact

Mike Donoghue, CEO John Taylor MAT

CEO’s Blog: “We’re cathedral builders – and we always have been.”

It is probably far too late in the month to wish readers a ‘Happy New Year’, but somehow for this first blog of 2021 it would seem impolite not to, especially in the context that the closing words of my previous piece was to wish you all a good Christmas. 

With so many developments and challenges in our sector, our country, and our world right now, I was surprised how difficult I found it to think of a theme this month.  That, plus the reality that other priorities inevitably pushed the writing of a blog to the bottom of the in-tray, has resulted in this edition just about squeezing in through the closing door that is the month of January. 

I decided to explore a phrase that was used by an acquaintance from the charities sector in an online seminar I attended recently.  As we discussed our roles and our work, he quipped “I have to remind myself sometimes that we’re cathedral builders, we take on the work of others and don’t ever really see our work come to a conclusion.”  I was struck by how much this resonated with me in terms of the role we play in our schools. 

Working for a Trust that sees its youngest children join our schools at the age of two, and where our eldest young people leave us at eighteen, there is an inclination to see this journey as stretching from its embarkation to its destination.  In some ways it is:  for the entirety of a child’s compulsory school education, John Taylor MAT and its schools may be the sole provider.  It is a privilege and a joy to see our children grow, develop, learn and enjoy their school days exclusively with us. 

Yet we also know that a child’s development begins long before school, and our development as adults extends far beyond our School Prom or Sixth Form Ball.  In that sense, we too are the cathedral builders – we take the achievements and hopes of those who were there before us, make a profound contribution and then pass the responsibility, and the opportunity, on to others.  If this sentiment conjures up an image of schools as construction sites, or that our children and young people are as passive as pieces of masonry, it should not.  The cathedral we build is not the child, but their experiences, skills and attitudes, and they literally co-construct this with us.  It is “done with”, not “done to”.  Nor is there a fixed blueprint or set of plans.  Anyone who has studied ecclesiastical architecture would note that changes in styles and building methods will be incorporated – sympathetically – into the structure as it develops.  So it is with the cathedrals we build.

Finally, we have become used to viewing our work, and having it evaluated, at regular and relatively short-term intervals:  phonics tests, SATs, progress tests, GCSEs, A Levels, Ofsted inspections, SIAMS inspections etc.  The cathedral builder can step back from the spirit level and the theodolite and look beyond this to the greater cause.  That may sound grandiose, but I make no apologies for that.  Our cause is a great one – certainly greater than buildings of stone, lead and stained glass.  We should all take the opportunity to look at our work in this way.  When writing this, I found a poem entitled “Cathedral Builders” by John Ormond.  The last verse is fitting here:

To leave the spire to others; stood in the crowd
Well back from the vestments at the consecration,
Envied the fat bishop his warm boots,
Cocked up a squint eye, and said, “I bloody did that”.

“Cathedral Builders” by John Ormond

To all the amazing cathedral builders out there: You all “bloody did that”!

Thanks for reading.