Last updated: 11.04.13

Newcastle schools form alliance to improve teacher training

Several Staffordshire schools are setting up their own education alliance to supervise teacher training, provide support for struggling institutions and help for pupils with special needs.

The facility - which will be led by Blackfriars School in the town of Newcastle - will involve 21 other state-run schools in the county and work with partners including Madeley High, Clayton Hall Business and Language College and NCHS The Science College, the Sentinel reports.

As part of the alliance, the schools will oversee the recruitment and training of the next generation of teachers and focus on improving education across the Newcastle district.

Jim Kane, executive headteacher of Blackfriars - which is one of the first Staffordshire institutions to gain teaching school status - said he is excited about the opportunities the venture will bring to education in the region.

He added he wants to tap into the expertise of staff in special schools to boost support for special needs pupils, as well as host training sessions for teachers in areas like helping autistic children. Some staff could also begin placements in special schools so they gain an insight into how to work with special needs.

Another focus of the alliance is school improvement and Staffordshire County Council - and its new education services company Entrust - will commission the teaching school to deliver some of the projects it has in the pipeline.

For example, a team of specialist leaders could be spending one day every week on outreach work, which would involve helping both failing schools and those that have a weak curriculum.

There are many other providers in the UK delivering training to school pupils and staff. Virtual College, which is based in West Yorkshire, has its own education division that works with various institutions to improve the quality of teaching in the classroom using online learning resources.

It has partnered with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, a group that consists of nine councils within Greater Manchester that have teamed up to improve educational resources and budgets.