Aspirational Teaching Alliance: St Helens

Newly qualified teachers and those in the early stages of their careers welcome the support and development opportunities that they receive.

Ofsted, October 2016

Do you have a degree and aspire to begin a teaching career? Train within St Helens secondary schools.

Find out more about the programme and open events by visting: hopeacademy.org.uk


A brief history and overview
Cowley Boys School, postcard

Cowley International College is an 11-18 college situated in the Windle Ward of St Helens, Merseyside.  Founded in the 1900s, the college has been at the forefront of local traditions, whilst being at the cutting edge of technological development.

Cowley is one of the largest schools in St Helens and there are currently over 1400 students on roll, with around 300 of those students studying at Sixth Form.

In recent years, the college has benefited from a £23m redevelopment, with a new building for the high school that opened in 2009, and a separate state-of-the-art Sixth Form site that opened a year later.

Cowley has achieved numerous awards, including The Every Child Matters Quality Mark, Recognition of Quality Award and the Healthy Schools Award. Notably, the college has achieved The International School Award, which recognises curriculum-based international work, and the Gold Standard RE Quality Mark (REQM) in recognition of the outstanding Religious Education.

Cowley’s Mission Statement and Values

Our mission is to create independent, considerate, healthy and aspirational people that communicate well.  Through teaching and providing an environment that is stimulating, safe and caring, we encourage all to develop themselves and to support each other to achieve their full potential.

Our mission statement is shaped by our vision for all Cowleians to achieve the highest standards together, articulated by our school motto: Non sibi seb omnibus, which translates as “Not for oneself but for all.”

Ofsted Report – Summary

Cowley was graded as a ‘Good’ school from the most recent Ofsted inspection that took place in October 2016. Some of the key findings related to training and support were:

Newly qualified teachers and those in the early stages of their careers welcome the support and development opportunities that they receive.

 The school is well organised which, despite its size and complexity, allows it to run smoothly. Leaders’ roles and responsibilities are clear.  

The systems for ensuring that teachers are effective are well planned.  

There is a continued focus on the quality of teaching and the outcomes to which it leads.  

Training and joint work between teachers adds to a culture where teaching is recognised as being very important.

Training and Development

As an established teacher training school and an Investor in People, Cowley holds a wealth of experience in various teacher training routes from PGCE and Undergraduate courses to Teach First and School Direct. As a result, we are fortunate to have excellent working relationships with several accredited universities, including Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool John Moores and Edge Hill University.

Cowley is experienced in the delivery of teacher training and they have committed and talented mentors in place to guide trainees and newly qualified teachers into the rewarding profession of teaching.