Expert Schools Programmes

Extraordinary Leaders, Empowered Staff, Expert Schools

Our Expert Schools Programmes have our signature Diagnostic Review at the heart. They all start with a deep, non-judgemental understanding of the effectiveness and implementation of your school or trust CPD programme, and identify areas of strength and improvement based on the seven domains of people powered school improvement. Then we stay curious and support improvement, with termly coaching conversations, training and impartial, evidence based advice. 

Working with our Professional Learning Leads and being part of our Expert Schools Network helps schools like yours to gain the insights, support and confidence needed to embed a professional culture of coaching, curiosity and growth throughout their whole school or trust.


 Don’t design the future until you deeply understand the present.

Viviane Robison

Building Expert Schools Programme

Why work with us?

Because evidence shows that gaining a deep understanding of the purpose, impact and effectiveness of your CPD approach will help you to:

  • Attract, motivate and retain great staff
  • Ensure that teaching is having a  consistently positive impact on pupils’ learning
  • Secure a culture where teachers reflect upon and improve their teaching
  • Improve subject knowledge across your school 
  • Tailor your programme of development to meet the needs of both new and experienced colleagues
  • Understand and address staff resistance to CPD

“Being part of this project has been a key driver in our school improvement. Our recent HMI visit recognised the changes we have made as a result.  It also ensured that CPD was prioritised by the leadership of the school.” 

Jane Grey, James Calvert Spence College, Northumberland

    Who is this for?

    Anyone in a school, trust or other school grouping with responsibility for staff development and school improvement 

    • CPD Leads
    • Head Teachers and Senior Leaders 
    • Trust Leaders, Executive Leaders, Directors of School Improvement, Directors of People, Directors of Teaching and Learning 


    What does it involve?

    Across three terms, a full Diagnostic Review of your current CPD approach, including:

    • Tools to enable structured self review
    • An in-depth TDT led review, including a series of multi stakeholder interviews
    • Examination and triangulation of the supplied evidence into a report
    • Bronze, silver or gold status is awarded

    Following the Diagnostic Review, your dedicated and highly experienced TDT Professional Learning Lead (PLL) will work with you to create a long term change plan, identifying and implementing a strategy to achieve staff buy-in and drive school improvement through people development. 

    Putting this change plan into action is supported by termly coaching calls from your PLL and access to TDTs Expert Schools Network, including a digital Diagnostic Review tool, members only online modules, curated online content, network events and  tickets to the TDT National Conference.

    We will also support you to get the most impact out of your CPD budget, whether that be by engaging with government funded programmes, further TDT training or qualifications or evidence based initiatives from our partners across the sector. Our aim as a charity is to help you implement the very best CPD for your school or trust.

    The Building Expert Schools Programme also includes two tickets per school, per year to TDT’s Annual National Conference


    When can I start?

    You can start your Building Expert Schools Programme at any time, the duration is across three terms and  we have a range of materials to help you introduce the programme and its aims to members of the school or trust community

    How much does it cost?

    We are a charity and as such, our programmes are offered on a not-for-profit basis.  Costs for all through schools, specials schools, PRUs or AP will be based on school size, please contact us for more detail.

    BESP for Primary Schools £2100
    BESP for Secondary Schools £2500




    The Building Expert Schools Programme also includes two tickets per school, per year to TDT’s Annual National Conference

    How does this work across multiple schools?

    We have worked with many multi academy trusts and groups of schools to design packages of strategic CPD Diagnostic Review and support.  

    To discuss what might work best for your multi academy trust or group of schools, please get in touch for a free consultation with our team.



     Being involved in this programme has been reassuring, supportive and has provided our school with direction and clarity on the academy’s CPD priorities.”

    Zara Blakemore, Hatfield Academy

    Hear what schools say:


    Why engage with the Diagnostic Review?

    How did you find the process?

    What impact has it had on your school?


    of school leaders would recommend the Diagnostic Review as part of their school development planning

    * Percentage of respondents in survey

    More about the Diagnostic Review

    TDT’s Diagnostic Review is the key component of the Expert Schools Programme. It is not a tick box exercise. Grounded in research, it allows you to work collaboratively with all staff to unpick where you are and what you do, revealing insights on how best to move forward and drive effective change in your context – it’s findings are non-judgemental and unique to your school. With over 500 Diagnostic Reviews completed, we are continuously building our understanding of what makes effective teacher development, knowledge we are committed to sharing with our network and the wider sector.  You can read more on the impact of Diagnostic Reviews on Our Impact page.

    Cycle of continual improvement

    Deep understanding, ongoing coaching and development

    We benchmark your school against 7 domains of school improvement and reveal insights that unlock effective change. Our process brings together your own insights with anonymous staff survey results, while your Professional Learning Lead triangulates this with staff interviews and policy reviews.

    What are the 7 Domains of School Improvement?

    Domain 1: Culture and Wellbeing

    Do staff feel buy-in and engagement to the development on offer?
    Is there an open culture of collaboration and peer observation?
    Do staff feel supported to grow in their careers?

    Domain 2: Focus

    Is CPD focused on improving teaching and learning?
    Do staff have the opportunity to apply, embed and refine new ideas gained from CPD?
    Does the school’s CPD meet a balance of generic pedagogical, subject-specific and pastoral needs?

    Domain 3: Needs Analysis & Evaluation

    Is CPD targeted at the needs of particular teachers and the pupils with whom they work?
    Is the impact of CPD being planned and evaluated?
    Do staff feel the CPD on offer is aligned to their needs?

    Domain 4: Internal Support & Challenge

    Are internal experts within the school trained and deployed effectively?
    Are performance management processes conducive to effective staff CPD?
    Are there opportunities to engage with critical friendships, coaching or collaborative enquiry?

    Domain 5: Use of Expert Knowledge

    How does the school commission external providers of CPD?
    Are there opportunities to look outwardly and collaborate with other schools?
    When staff attend external courses, are they given sufficient time and support to embed new ideas or strategies?

    Domain 6: Processes & Structures for CPD

    Is there sufficient leadership capacity and clarity around staff development?
    What do career pathways look like, and are these fair/clear to all?
    Is there enough time safeguarded for PD and is this time maximised?
    Is staff development and meeting time structured effectively?

    Domain 7: Use of Research and Evidence

    Are professional development processes rooted in evidence-based theories?
    Do staff have access to pedagogical research to inform their practice?

    The Diagnostic Review is just the beginning of our relationship with you. We provide the support, guidance, resources and network opportunities needed to take the insights from the review to make a difference and sustain momentum.

    Unleashing Expert Schools

    After they have strengthened the foundations for effective CPD with the Building Expert Schools Programme, most schools continue to work with us to further unleash expertise whole school, either by continuing with annual Expert Schools Membership or by engaging with a range of our qualifications and training to align their approach.

    Working with TDT has been transformational for developing a professional learning and development culture at our school.

    Through our membership and Diagnostic reviews, with the accompanying coaching from experts at the TDT, we have been able to focus on the things that really matter and take an evidence-based approach to creating solutions.

    In addition, through the Associate Qualification in CPD Leadership and Pedagogical Coaching courses, key members of staff have been able to develop their expertise in different areas, whilst remaining aligned.

    As a result of this work, the quality of teaching and impact upon student outcomes has improved dramatically. Thank you, TDT!” 

    Lucy Hemsley, Assistant Headteacher
    Cheltenham Bournside School (Sept 2023)

    Sustaining Expert Schools

      We’re proud that our work at a larger scale, with trusts and local authorities aiming to embed effective professional development across groups of schools, has shown strong evidence of impact in external evaluations.

    Read more about our impact as part of the DfE funded Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund (2022) or listen to Jane Kennedy, Senior Specialist Adviser for Education Durham talking about the positive impact Diagnostic Reviews, Pedagogical Coaching Training and Collaborative Enquiry Training have had on twelve schools across Durham.

    Transcript and full interview video with Jane Kennedy, Senior Specialist Adviser for Education Durham here


    Want to find out more
    Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your options with our team:

    Our Research and Insights

    Read about the research that underpins our work and our insights into effective CPD


    Sign up to our monthly intelligence briefing for everyone interested in professional learning

    Our Impact

    On school improvement, teaching and learning, morale and teacher retention