National English Hubs

DfE logo

Following the announcement from the Secretary of State for Education, Learners First is delighted and extremely proud that one of the lead Teaching Schools within the alliance has been accredited as one of only 32 new national English Hubs! English Hubs will have a particular focus on improving early language and literacy teaching, including in reception. The Hubs have been chosen by the Department for Education (DfE) through a competitive process against strict criteria and were required to demonstrate a proven track record of excellent phonics teaching and pupil outcomes over a sustained period of time.

The English Hubs have been tasked with sharing best practice and teaching techniques with the aim of building networks of excellent phonics teaching in every region. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with other schools and leaders to a play a key role in shaping this work and contributing to the development of the local and national English Hub network.

For further information please contact the English Hub Lead, Liz Kenny (

Alex Quigley - Reading Gap

Book a place

These are repeat sessions, please book on only one


Closing the Reading Gap

with Alex Quigley

Masterclass Seminar for School Leaders and Classroom Teachers

Friday, 06th March 2020

  • Session 1: 8.30 – 11.30am
  • Session 2: 12.30 – 3.30pm

(NB: These are repeat sessions, please only attend one)

Venue: The Holiday Inn
West Bawtry Road,
Rotherham S60 2XL

Following the overwhelming success of our first masterclass seminar focussed on vocabulary and as part of our continued focus on supporting improvements in literacy and language development, Learners First is delighted to welcome Alex Quigley back to lead this new ‘Closing the Reading Gap’ masterclass seminar.

During the session, Alex will unpick the challenges faced by all of our pupils as they grapple with the academic reading demands posed by the school curriculum. He will explore a range of issues, such as what makes reading in school so difficult, what to prioritise when seeking to improve reading, alongside sharing a wealth of practical strategies to improve the quality of teaching in every classroom. Alex will sift through the critical shift in reading at transition and how pupils go on to read successfully in the subject disciplines. This masterclass seminar offers useable knowledge and strategies for school leaders and classroom teachers at each phase and stage.

Audience: Headteachers, Senior Leaders & Classroom Teachers (primary, special & secondary)

Fully funded for delegates from schools/academies subscribing to Learners First.
Fully funded for the Learners First English Hub intensive support schools
(£50 per delegate from non-subscribing and non-intensive support schools)


DfE Professional Clerks’ Development Programme 

A two day course:-

18th March 2020 & 05th May 2020
9.30am – 4.30pm

The Source Skills Academy
300 Meadowhall Way
Sheffield S9 1EA

Effective governance provides strategic direction and control to schools, academies and Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). It creates robust accountability, oversight and assurance for their educational and financial performance and is ambitious for all children and young people to achieve the very best outcomes.

Professional-quality clerking is critical to the effectiveness of a governing board in fulfilling its core strategic functions. It is much more than taking minutes to record the discussions and decisions of the board. It is also about providing governing boards with expert advice on governance, procedures and compliance and directly contributing to its efficient conduct. The voluntary nature of governance makes it all the more important that boards conduct their business efficiently to make the best possible use of everyone’s time.

Professional clerking has a vital role to play in meeting the administrative and procedural requirements of boards and enabling efficient and effective discussion and decision making.

To apply please complete the online application form available below by 04th March 2020.

Governance Curriculum

Governance Curriculum

CPD opportunities for those who hold Governance roles within Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) at either a Board Level (Members, Directors and Trustees) or at an individual School/Academy Level (Governors of Local Governing Bodies, LGBs).

“The department’s vision is to see robust and effective governance in every school and trust. As the first line of accountability, the department recognises that high quality effective and ethical governance is key to success in our school system and for the future of children and young people.”
Lord Agnew

With over 1,200 Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) across the country and increasing numbers of children and young people being educated within a MAT structure, MATs are a significant part of the educational landscape. However, it is a critical time for MATs and the stakes are high. Many of the initial approaches, structures and models no longer meet current sector challenges nor do they satisfy reformed accountability measures. Furthermore, as well as having to ensure legal and financial compliance whilst maintaining a healthy balance between academic performance and external growth pressures, many MATs are simultaneously entering into their first wave of CEO recruitment, appointment and induction. For a range of reasons, many are also at a point where it is appropriate to review their Schemes of Delegation as they consider the relationship and connectivity between the MAT Board and Local Governing Bodies (LGBs) in more detail. As a result, we are entering a new phase of MAT governance and leadership which requires a revised approach to professional development and necessitates a reformed offer.

The Learners First MAT Governance Curriculum offer has therefore been developed by a group of experienced professionals from a range of backgrounds with a wealth of pertinent knowledge, skills and expertise in the field. As well as colleagues with experience of working for and advising the DfE the team has included experienced School Leaders, MAT Directors and Members, Chairs of Trust Boards, National Leaders of Governance (NLGs) and Chairs of Governors. In addition, it has been a privilege to work with a Regional Advisor from Academy Ambassadors who has helped further refine and quality assure the provision. The curriculum has been designed for those who have strategic governance roles on Multi Academy Trust (MAT) Boards and MAT central teams and those on the LGBs of schools operating within MAT organisations. Further details are outlined in the course information flyer.

Governor Curriculum - Session 2

18th March 2020

Aston Hall Hotel
Worksop Road, Aston, Sheffield. S26 2EE
5.30pm – 7.30pm
(Arrival & Registration from 5.00pm)

Governance Curriculum

Session 2: ‘Teaching & Curriculum Excellence: ‘The Business of Education’’

With a keynote address and case studies from Kath Kelly, CEO Lionheart Trust (a high performing cross-phase MAT with schools in Leicestershire and Leicester) and Paul Makin, Chair of Harmony Trust, Chair of two Local IEBs and former CEO.

Building upon the first session with John Edwards (RSC for East Midlands and the Humber) this session will consider what those involved in governance need to understand in relation to the MAT’s work in assessing and improving teaching and curriculum quality, pupil progress and attainment in a range of different contexts, including for disadvantaged pupils and those with particular needs. Through this we hope to support delegates to develop a deeper understanding of how the provision in a MAT wide curriculum can help with recruitment and retention, reducing teacher workload and deploy school-to-school support systems effectively in order to improve teaching and curriculum quality. Through case studies, keynote addresses and facilitated discussions, the following key questions will be explored during the session:

  • How do you currently know that the curriculum at your school(s) is fit for purpose?
  • How can Directors and LGBs know the school(s) is/are doing well in this critical area?
  • How do you currently know that teaching and learning in your school(s) is of high quality or not?

This session is designed for those who have strategic governance roles on MAT Boards, MAT CEOs and Chairs of Governors from LGBs of schools operating within MAT organisations.

Applications and bookings can be made by emailing:

Full programme details and information about the date, time and venue of each session are in the course information flyer.


Learners First Subscription 2019-20

Details of the Learners First Subscription offer for 2019-20 is included in the attached document.

As you will see, in addition to provision that has been included in the offer for a number of years (NPQML, NPQSL, NPQH, NPQEL, School Direct ITT, support staff programmes, governor and clerk development, Level 4/5 leadership opportunities for Heads/CEOs, etc) the 2019-20 offer has been enhanced with many new areas. Collectively, these are designed to provide a comprehensive range of opportunities for school leaders, teachers and aspirant teachers, support staff and governors which reflect current and emerging priorities. Some of the new and more recently added opportunities include:

  • The Principles of Teaching CPD Programme (linked to the new Ofsted framework) – All schools
  • The Oracy Pioneers Programme (facilitated by Voice 21 as part of the dissemination of learning and best practice from the 2018-19 DfE SSIF work) – All schools
  • Subscription to The Key – All schools
  • Enhanced provision linked to literacy and phonics (building on the work of the recently designated DfE English Hub and Letters & Sounds accredited training centre within the Learners First partnership) – Primary Phase
  • MAT Board Development Programme and Due Diligence Support (through the use of ‘Professional Partners’ and the recently developed ‘Balanced Scorecard’)
  • Funded Internships for Maths and Physics – Secondary schools
  • New themes for the Level 4 and 5 leadership seminars and workshops as well as follow up sessions connected to seminars delivered in 2018-19 (including    work with a number of high profile keynote speakers) – All schools
  • A revised NQT Development Programme, Early Professional Development Opportunities and NQT Appropriate Body – All schools
  • A cross phase commissioned Curriculum Design Research project – All schools

Please refer to the subscription brochure attached for full details of the subscription offer. If you wish to discuss anything specific please contact a member of the Learners First team.

tel: 01709-267021


Interested in a career in teaching?

School Direct – Initial Teacher Training

In the classroom

Learners First is an accredited provider of the School Direct teacher training programme and offers high quality school-based training in early years, primary and secondary schools. Our training programmes give you the opportunity to ‘learn on the job’ alongside outstanding school leaders as well as achieving a PGCE qualification and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Trainees are supported every step of the way and through the professional networks and the wider Leadership Curriculum, employment, career progression and professional development opportunities are plentiful with Learners First.

Teaching is a hugely fulfilling career and Learners First Schools Partnership has an amazing track record of recruiting, developing and employing high quality trainee teachers across South Yorkshire.  As a trainee you could be eligible for a bursary of up to £30,000 and there may be opportunities for you to earn while you train through the salaried routes.

You could be on your way to an exciting career in teaching sooner than you think with fantastic training and enhanced employment opportunities with Learners First Schools Partnership. We are currently recruiting the future generation of outstanding trainee teachers to our early years, primary and secondary programmes and would welcome a conversation if you would like to find out more or how to apply.

If you have the drive, passion and commitment, we have the professionals and programme to support you on your journey to becoming an outstanding teacher!

Contact Claire Garbutt for further information:

Primary Teacher

Find postgraduate teacher training courses in England

A service to help graduates find the most relevant postgraduate teacher training courses.

Use this service if you’re a graduate and you plan to train to teach in a state primary or secondary school in England. You can search courses by location, provider and subject.

When you’ve chosen a course or courses, you’ll be redirected to UCAS to complete your application.

Learners First – an inclusive teaching school partnership

Learners First is an inclusive teaching school partnership of over 200 schools from all phases. Established in August 2012 Learners First is a not-for profit company whose main focus is to build excellence and address underperformance in equal measure through system-led school improvement and leadership development. The principle objective is to better deliver the mission in a greater number of schools and settings. Learners First aims to achieve this through investment in three core interdependent areas of work:

  • Leadership development and transformation
  • System-led school to school support
  • Governance and governor development

The education landscape is changing significantly with schools and school leaders at the heart of these changes. Whilst recent reforms present many fantastic opportunities for collaboration, innovation and school-led improvement, it can also be quite a daunting prospect for schools and their leaders, particularly at a time of austerity and with fewer resources at their disposal. However, Learners First is well placed to support and make a significant contribution to the maturity and effectiveness of a school-led system. Far from creating a dependency culture, Learners First is able to support schools, academies and MATs to lead their own improvement by providing and brokering additional capacity and school expertise.

To discuss your requirements please contact us:-

Tel. 01709-267021

Governor Development Programme


Effective governance has always been crucial to the success of schools and academies but never more so than now when governance features so decisively in the current Ofsted Framework. Our Governor Development continues to be a core area of work for Learners First.

School-to-School Support


Learners First’s approach to school-to-school support is dynamic and innovative. Any support that is provided, brokered or commissioned by Learners First is designed to be bespoke and tailored to meet the needs of the identified school(s) to maximise its impact.

For details of our programmes and events please follow the link below.

Support Staff Development Programme


This programme aims to support colleagues currently employed in Support Staff roles in school to make the transition into teaching. The programme has been designed and will be delivered by a range of Specialist Leaders of Education and serving school leaders from a variety of schools, contexts and phases.

For further details follow the link below.



Schools and Academies

have accessed Learners First programmes


specialist leaders of education (sle)

have been designated and are available for deployment through Learners First


middle and senior leaders and aspirant headteachers

have accessed the nationally accredited, NPQ licensed leadership programmes through Learners First since 2012


serving school leaders

contributed to the design and delivery of leadership programmes

See what our course delegates say

Thank you to Learners First, NPQH was a superb programme and I really enjoyed every minute of it. Huge praise to all leaders involved in delivery of the programme.

Mark Allen, Vice Principal, The Dearne ALC, Barnsley

Heatherwood’s Primary Phase Leader has just completed the NPQSL qualification with yourselves and the impact has been fantastic; with regards to both her personal growth and professional development.

Kind regards
Lisa Suter

Heatherwood School, Doncaster

Thank you for the invitation this morning.  I thought the quality of the seminar was excellent.

Dave Vernon
Vice Principal/AST
Tuxford Academy, Newark

Ofsted seminar – 21st Sept

I am just writing to thank you and all the people who delivered/facilitated the NPQH course through Learners First. I am pleased to say that I received confirmation of my successful completion of the qualification over the summer. I have gained lots from the course and feel that without the excellent face to face days, visits to schools and the support that you have offered it would not have been as enjoyable and beneficial to my career as it has been. Can you please pass on my thanks to all concerned and I hope that Learners First continue to provide these outstanding leadership opportunities for years to come.

Karl O’Reilly, St Luke’s School, Scunthorpe

“I like the Learners First approach. It is engaging, stimulating and down to earth with excellent use of relevant expertise.” “Poses lots of questions and gives time and a professional ‘community’ to reflect with and bounce ideas off.”


“An excellent course which has allowed me to develop as a Senior Leader. Often courses are “busy” but you get nothing out of them for you personally, but this is quite the opposite. Also, feedback has felt valued.”