Schools’ alliance aiming to raise teaching standards across region

ON THE FACE of it a selective grammar school on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and the country’s first Muslim state school serving an inner city Bradford community might seem an unlikely partnership.

But Skipton Girls High and Feversham College joined forces to lead a teaching alliance which aims to raise standards of teaching and learning across Bradford and North Yorkshire.

Both are all girls schools are both have been rated as outstanding by Ofsted. Jenn Plews the headteacher of Skipton Girls said the schools had been working together for several years and discovered they share the same vision and passion for teaching girls and in breaking down stereotypes.

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Skipton Girls and Feversham College joined forces to lead the Northern Lights Teaching School Alliance (NLTSA) three years ago and they now work with more than 20 schools to deliver classroom based training. The alliance is calling for applicants for courses starting this September. The new programmes, offered in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, are in Early Years, General Primary and English, biology, chemistry, maths, geography, history and physics for secondary schools.

The programmes are open to both top graduates and career changers and they offer the chance to be part of a teaching team from day one, combining teacher training with on the job learning.

Mrs Plews said the alliance of schools had 35 specialist leaders in education who delivered training. There are more than 20 schools in the alliance meaning trainees get the chance to work in different school environments including comprehensives and academies, rural and inner city schools, single sex and selective schools. Mrs Plews and Clare Skelding, head teacher of Feversham College said: “We are delighted to be involved in training outstanding teachers and look forward to receiving applications from those with a genuine desire to join the profession. The NLTSA courses are innovative and are designed and delivered by groups of neighbouring schools.”

Mrs Plews said that the one of the innovations was its Teach three approach which sees people do initial teaching training in their first year, then train as a newly qualified teacher in their second year and receive further training as a recently qualified teacher training in their third.

She told The Yorkshire Post both schools hoped to be able to improve the capacity of the teaching workforce in the schools in Bradford and North Yorkshire in which the alliance works.

She said that being involved in the Northern Lights also benefited her own staff at Skipton Girls as it increased their breadth of experience.