Last week we received the fantastic news that, after a highly competitive process, Bennett has been designated as a National Teaching School by the Department for Education. This means that Bennett is one of a small number of outstanding schools which will take a lead role in improving the quality of education for young people by spearheading the development and sharing of good teaching and training for teachers, and by leading on research into what makes the work of teachers and schools more effective. It is a major accolade for the school, its staff and governors, and the opportunities it will provide will help make a school which already is very effective in educating its students even more so.
A further important dimension of the Teaching School designation is the opportunity and challenge to work with other schools in a wider partnership. This has the benefit of enabling Bennett teachers to learn from the best practice elsewhere, and of supporting other schools and teachers locally to learn from the best of what is achieved here at Bennett. We will be working in an alliance which will include secondary schools here in Tunbridge Wells as well as in East Sussex, particularly Skinners’ Kent Academy and Uckfield Community College, and also with a large number of primary schools across the Tunbridge Wells and East Sussex areas, who already work together as a hitherto primary only alliance. The primary dimension will have the added benefit of improving primary secondary liaison and transfer for students.
In addition, as a result of this designation, there will be more opportunities for Bennett teachers, and thus Bennett students, to access opportunities for learning and improvement at national level. We see this as an enormously exciting opportunity which will help the school move on to a higher plane still.
At the same time, Bennett’s headteacher has been designated as a National Leader of Education and has received a letter of congratulation for the Secretary of State which can be seen here. This is both a recognition of the work that has been achieved by the whole leadership team at Bennett so far in making it the outstanding school it is, and also an opportunity to share this work as we contribute to the wider improvement of education in the area and nationally. Like Teaching School status, it will bring more opportunity to Bennett and its teachers and students as we continue to strive for excellence in all we do.