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The big six

The role of our teaching school alliance is to take a central role in school improvement. The government initiative set out plans for a self-led system of school development back in 2010. Since then teaching schools have been set the role of working across 6 main areas to offer support and development in their regions. Together they form the ‘Big 6’ and are detailed below. If you want to know more about what we offer, please do get in touch via the contact page.

Initial Teacher Training

Trainee teachers often say that the best aspect in their training year was getting into the classroom to experience the role first hand and have the chance to work with a range of pupils and staff with years of experience in their field. ITT with HOSTA is based in our schools along with mainstream partners and in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton. This has been a successful partnership for several years and we are keen to develop this relationship in the future.

HOSTA is very proud to offer an excellent experience of teacher training for our candidates, sharing our expertise in SEN and supporting the transfer of these skills into mainstream settings. You will have a personalised and memorable learning journey working alongside our alliance partners and the University of Wolverhampton.

There are currently 3 routes we offer into the teaching profession, all of which are supported by the University of Wolverhampton:

School Direct Tuition PGCE

The School Direct Tuition PGCE route is for high quality graduates who are looking to secure training and final employment at a specific partnership school whilst following a PGCE programme. This route allows you to apply to one of our partnership schools for your main training placement and provides University and school-based training along with 60 Masters level credits leading to the award of a PGCE at the end of the programme. Trainees are responsible for tuition fees and are entitled to bursaries and student loans.

Trainees begin the year with a block of lectures on campus at Walsall, working on theory and curriculum background to prepare you for the first placement in a special school. You will have a second, main placement in a mainstream primary setting during the spring term. Written assignments are set by the university and you are assigned a university tutor and school based mentor to support you throughout the course.

School Direct Salaried

The School Direct Salaried route is for high quality graduates and ideally suited to career changers with ideally three years’ work experience. This route allows you to apply to one of our partnership schools for your training year, where you will work for four days per week whilst receiving an unqualified teacher’s salary. It provides university and school-based training and opportunities for up to 40 Masters level credits. Schools receive funding to contribute towards training costs and the salary.

This route involves two teaching placements, one as a main placement in a special school and a second, shorter placement in a mainstream primary setting where you will work in a different key stage. The course involves regular taught sessions at the University campus based in Walsall. This is where you work on theory and curriculum background and prepare for your written assignments. You are assigned a university and a school based tutor for the duration of the course.

School Direct Salaried – PE specialism

This route is similar to the standard salaried route but includes a wider experience focused on PE teaching in your placement schools. This is reflected in your final QTS.

Please call us at HOSTA to find out more.


Continuing Professional Development

HOSTA has a large team of experienced staff offering a broad spectrum of specialisms and expertise in SEN. From highly skilled teaching assistants to experienced management teams we have much to share to support and expand outstanding practice in other schools. We also pride ourselves on keeping our staff up to date with the latest training from curriculum and assessment to wellbeing and management, offering regular opportunities to work alongside our staff on CPD courses.

 Check out the courses we currently have on offer and get in touch if you would like to book a place or ask for further information. HOSTA is also a hub of high quality Team Teach tutors who can offer 6 and 12 hour courses for holistic behavioural interventions, subject to your needs. Further details of our offer can be found in the course section of the site. If there is anything else you would like training in let us know as we can offer smaller bespoke courses as required.

School To School Support

HOSTA schools have worked through a great deal of change and development as the educational landscape has changed around us. We are keen to offer support to our colleagues from other schools and establishments in the region, sharing our expertise and guiding you through challenges you may be facing. This support is built around your needs and can be a one off visit or phased plan of support involving alliance staff coming to see you but also hosting visits to our schools as part of a package. We also have a successful wellbeing team who work on mindfulness, sensory diets, communication and relationships who can offer outreach support and training. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us.

Senior Leaders In Education

SLEs focus on developing the capacity and capability of other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools. This may be done through one-to-one or group support and could involve a variety of activities, such as: data analysis, coaching, facilitating and training and joint action planning.

We have a team of SLEs ready to support in schools who have many years of SEN experience as well as expertise in their specialist fields. We can build a bespoke package of support tailored to your needs. If our SLE’s key skills don’t match your areas for development, we have many other skilled staff who offer outreach support. Meet the team:

Wayne Tulloch

Specialisms: Behaviour, KS3 curriculum, senior leadership and SEN.

Wayne works as a senior leader at Hazel Oak School where he has been a key driver in changing how staff support, challenge and monitor behaviour. This has included; introducing and managing behaviour monitoring systems and providing on-going staff training and guidance. He has established and embedded reward systems and promoted positive recognition of good behaviour across the school. Wayne has also acquired Healthy Schools status and the Anti-Bullying Schools Award for the school.

Wayne’s work has led to significant changes/practices being adopted by the Senior Leadership Team and other members within the staff team. Ofsted has also recognised his outstanding practice in the leadership of behaviour and safety of pupils, noting that students are happy and enjoy coming to school. Under his leadership behaviour is also good and appropriately supported and challenged by all staff. Wayne has also collaborated with the Head Teacher to inspect the SEN provision at a local primary school, where his recommendations for behaviour management improvements have received very positive feedback. Wayne has recently adopted new restorative approaches to behaviour management has also led key changes and developments in the key stage 3 curriculum. 

“I am motivated to participate in system leadership as sharing good practice can have a fundamental impact on the lives and experiences of young people within my own school and the wider community. I believe that our aim as teachers is to provide all young people with the knowledge and skills that allow them to be happy and make a success of their lives in our complex world.”

Issy Jerrard.

Specialisms: Behaviour, KS3/4 curriculum, mental health and SEN.

Issy is based at Forest Oak, a special school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. She has worked to change behaviour systems and practices, which have benefited staff and children over many years providing best practice behaviour training and support. She has also worked alongside educational psychologists to develop bespoke behaviour strategies for key stage 4 pupils. Other experience includes leading KS3 and 4 curriculum and mentoring NQTs.

Issy has devised and delivered bespoke INSET to mainstream schools for ADHD, Autism and behaviour management and has worked with Sencos and class teachers to observe individual pupils, identify behaviour needs and suggest strategies. Issy is also one of our accomplished Team Teach tutors. Issy has also recently led Forest Oak in becoming a ‘restorative school’, which has had a very positive impact on re-shaping the team ethos using restorative justice techniques to resolve pupil issues. Issy is also a Youth Mental Health First Aider (mental health first aid England) and lead on mental health/wellbeing at Forest Oak.

“I am motivated to work as a leader by the impact my contribution can have on the quality of teaching and learning opportunities it will ultimately offer pupils. I am driven by a need to understand and enable others to understand SEN, pupil behaviour and learning because every child should feel understood, safe and valued and have staff who feel confident, skilled and supported.”

James Summerfield

Specialisms: Creative curriculum development, music teaching and SEN

James works as a year 6 teacher and curriculum leader at Hazel Oak School. He is a passionate advocate for a thematic, challenge-based approach to learning. He leads a new approach to our curriculum which has brought the New Curriculum to life and optimised experiential learning opportunities for pupils, whilst bringing increased opportunities to work with people and professionals in and around the local community. As someone who has experienced teaching a range of abilities in different settings, James works with an approach to the curriculum which can improve standards of teaching, planning, learning and student motivation in any setting, not just SEN.

James aims to ensure that strong subject knowledge is at the core of curriculum teaching, through staff communication, building confidence and knowledge and sourcing new and creative resources. James provides training in school to support staff in the implementation of new ideas, evaluating the impact on teaching and learning, with lots of positive feedback.

James also leads the HOSTA Creative Forum, which is open to all schools who wish to build creative links to enhance learning experiences for their pupils. Hazel Oak is an Arts Ambassador lead school for Arts Mark. If you would like to work with James or get involved with the Creative Forum, please contact HOSTA for more information. James is also available to support you in school in leading change and development for your curriculum.

Planning can become more collaborative and therefore cross-curricular, one size does not fit all.

As someone who is passionate about education and sharing good practice, I am keen to share our progressive model with other professionals.

Sam Kordan

Specialisms: Mathematics and SEN

Sam works as the Mathematics lead at Hazel Oak School and has a broad experience of teaching in both special and mainstream schools in the UK and also teaching abroad. In his time at Hazel Oak Sam has collated a wide range of quality resources for staff, working with them to access materials which have enriched lessons and made them more engaging. Sam’s enthusiasm and commitment to his subject have allowed him to support colleagues working form key stage 1 to post 16 with creative strategies for delivering mathematical learning. Previous support has included subject knowledge, use of physical resources, ideas for teaching particular topics and tools to help specific pupils. Sam has also delivered accessible and thought provoking training for staff that they have implemented quickly into classroom practice. Colleagues now deliver their lessons more confidently and recognise how they can improve their own practice.

Mathematics is an important bedrock of pupils learning journeys and one which Sam believes should be fun, progressive and influential for all pupils at every age and stage. He is keen to share his ideas to support you in leading mathematics where you are.

“I am motivated by the enjoyment that pupils demonstrate when they ‘get it’. I feel well equipped to instruct other staff in how to improve mathematics in their schools so that their pupils will have a greater understanding of a wide range of concepts and enjoy the challenge.”

Check out the courses we currently have on offer and get in touch if you would like to book a place or ask for further information. HOSTA is also a hub of high quality Team Teach tutors who can offer 6 and 12 hour courses for holistic behavioural interventions, subject to your needs. Further details of our offer can be found in the course section of the site. If there is anything else you would like training in let us know as we can offer smaller bespoke courses as required

Succession Planning And Talent Management

HOSTA is also keen to develop our responsibility for nurturing the skilled staff within and beyond the alliance. Our schools currently employ apprentices and offer a wide range of voluntary experiences in our SEN settings. Our staffing structure includes a well organised and experienced management team who can also offer experience and shadowing days for any aspiring leaders.

If you have not experienced special education or you are an aspiring leader, please get in touch. HOSTA aims to grow the leaders of the future through direct support and experience and we would love to hear from you.

Research And Development

The final strand of our remit as a teaching alliance is to tread new ground in researching the next developments in education for the benefit of all. We are currently seeking to make links with professionals, universities and other institutions that would be interested in working with our staff and pupils towards this end. If that is you, we would love to hear from you.