AN alliance of Cheshire schools, led by Holmes Chapel Comprehensive, is leading the way in improving education for children in the county.

And the village’s high school welcomed Charlie Taylor, chief executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, to its base on Friday, January 31, experiencing some of the work being carried out.

The school is part of the Chimney House Teaching School Alliance – which is made up of schools in the former Cheshire Borough of Congleton.

Charlie joined ‘School Direct’ trainee teachers in professional studies workshops on ‘behaviour for learning’ and ‘assessment for learning’ with a particular focus on planning for progress, as well as joining teachers engaged in a Lesson Study project.

‘School Direct’ is a recently introduced school-led teacher training pathway for high quality graduates who want a closer relationship with the schools they are training in than is possible by traditional routes and gain a PGCE in the process.

The Chimney House Alliance led by Holmes Chapel Comprehensive is an acknowledged centre of excellence for the ‘School Direct’ Programme.

Charlie Taylor wanted to see first-hand some of the outstanding practice being developed within the Alliance.

He was also keen to get involved with the innovative Lesson Study programme being rolled out by Holmes Chapel Comprehensive across the other schools in the Chimney House Alliance.

Lesson study originated in countries such as Japan and Singapore on the Pacific Rim.

The Lesson Study Programme at Holmes Chapel has been slowly developing for about five years but the rate of progress dramatically increased following headteacher and teacher exchanges between Holmes Chapel and Hong Kah and Hillgrove Secondary Schools in Singapore in 2013.

Denis Oliver, headteacher of Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, said: “I am delighted that Charlie has taken time out of his incredibly busy schedule to come and see some of the excellent work we are doing at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School and throughout the Chimney House Alliance.

“The Government want to know what we are doing well and Charlie is listening to the views of trainee teachers, teachers and educational leaders and making these known to ministers.

“Just before Christmas he arranged for a number of Headteachers including myself to meet with the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, so that we could share some of our concerns with him. He listened but whether it will make a difference time will tell.”

For further details on the alliance visit Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School website at