Alliance Structure

The Blue Coat School became a National Teaching School and National Support School in Summer 2013. As a National Teaching school, Blue Coat has established this Alliance.  15 partner schools including secondary, primary, tertiary and special schools from 6 Local Authority areas have signed the Alliance’s Statement of Commitment. Areas in which the Alliance will pool its skills to provide services to its members and the wider educational community will initially be in relation to:

  • Initial Teacher Education via the Manchester Nexus SCITT
  • Continuing Professional Education
  • Research and Development
  • The designation of Specialist Leaders of Education to build capacity for school to school support
  • An Alliance based system for leadership development
  • An extension and enrichment programme for the most able post 16 pupils and their teachers

How we work

The Northern Alliance is a loose association.  If you join us, we expect that you will pick and choose which pieces of work best fit your school’s circumstances.  The Northern Alliance is regional, and we expect that you will continue to be part of your local groups and networks using The Northern Alliance as a wider reference and an opportunity to get involved in national strategy.

Requirements of members

  • That you make an outstanding contribution – ie., if you get involved in something, you commit to making it a success by doing it to the best of your ability, so that we all learn and improve and we get an outcome that moves us on.
  • You follow our protocols of fairness, trust, openness and confidentiality as set out in our Statement of Commitment which each member of the Alliance is required to sign up to. This means that we have a protocol about sharing data.  Currently we are using this to identify the best departments in the Alliance to lead on Initial Teacher Education and Continuing Professional Development.
  • You appreciate, and treat seriously, the fact that this is a strategic alliance focused on school improvement.  Ie., it has to be led from the top.  It cannot be left to someone who does not have strategic responsibility and accountability As a result we expect the involvement of the very best that each school has to offer in terms of authoritative leadership and decision making in all Alliance activities.
  • Strategic partners have also committed to the memorandum of understanding in the Partners section of this website which sets out the aims and priorities of the Alliance and the particular commitments of being a strategic partner.

Frequently asked questions regarding membership

 1) Is there any funding?

Schools should be clear that we work on the principles of total cost recovery, for the hub school and for any other Alliance member who may commit time to lead/run something for the Alliance, be that as a lead provider for ITE, or as an SLE supporting a department/team in another school.

The Teaching School (Blue Coat) receives a small amount, which goes into central costs.

 2) What if I only want to be involved in one aspect of the Alliance’s work?

That’s fine.  We need everyone to commit to something (otherwise why bother) but schools have different needs and priorities, and they go through periods of change/turbulence where they may wish to increase, or reduce, their commitment.  That’s fine too.

It’s an expectation/requirement that every Head teacher takes responsibility and attends the annual this is a strategic alliance, focused on school improvement

 3)  What if I want to get involved in the work of another Teacher School Alliance?

The Northern Alliance does not own its members.  Its members make a free choice to get involved.  It is assumed that members will also be involved in other groups and networks.  We collaborate on what’s important to us, and we have specific goals.  (See Our aims).

No-one is going to be open if they are concerned that confidentiality is not respected, so that is a stipulation and part of the Statement of Commitment.

 4) How do members influence the work of the Alliance?

The Northern Alliance is new – we only established ourselves in summer 2013.  So far the agenda has been set by the Teaching School, with partners taking up what was relevant for them.  As we become more mature, we anticipate that several circles/networks of leadership will develop around

  • ITE – both primary and secondary
  • CPD
  • Leadership development
  • SLE development
  • R & D
  • Extension

and that the schools involved in these – which will be self-selecting – will start to develop their own agenda, drawing as much on their local circumstances and needs as much as on government-led priorities.

 5) How do I join?

Contact us to discuss what you would be interested in and we can then take this further with you.

If you have any further questions please contact us on and we will get back to you.