Private schools to train state school teachers

Secondary school classroom The government plans to have 500 teaching schools training would-be teachers on-the-job by 2015

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Two leading private schools have been selected as teaching schools to train teachers for the English state sector.

Wellington College and Guildford High School are among 150 new teaching schools accredited by the National College for School Leadership.

The government wants more teacher training to be delivered 'on the job' instead of in university-based courses.

Maggie Farrar, of the National College, said teaching schools would "bring real benefits to pupils and staff".

The 150 newly designated teaching schools will bring the total to 366. The government plans to have 500 operating by 2015. The National College says the plan is for outstanding schools to work with groups of other schools and at least one university to "deliver high quality support for teachers and leaders at all stages in their career".

The majority of teaching schools are state-funded but the head of Wellington College, which charges more than £30,000 a year for boarding, believes private schools have much to offer when it comes to training teachers for state schools.

'Smashing barriers'

Dr Anthony Seldon, head of Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire, said: "We are delighted to be selected as a teaching school. This ushers in a new era in the relationship between state and independent sector working together.

"Throughout the 20th Century, state and independent schools were handicapped by working almost entirely in silos. The teaching school initiative is the latest initiative for smashing down the barriers between both sectors.

"Now we can work side by side and realise that we share far more in common, namely teaching children to the best of our ability, than divides us."

Guildford High, an independent girls school which charges fees of £13,890 a year, will be the flagship teaching school for a training programme run across a group of academies and private schools by United Learning, of which it is part.

Jon Coles, chief executive of United Learning, said: "This is a great moment for a unique collaboration. Guildford High School will be leading this alliance with some outstanding academies."

Mr Coles said that Paddington Academy in London and William Hulme Grammar School in Manchester, also run by United Learning, would share leadership of the initiative to provide initial teacher training for 50 students from September this year and some 200 trainee teachers the following year.

"Through the alliance, state and independent school teachers will come together as equals to learn, share experiences and develop their professional skills - for the benefit of all children and young people."

Ms Farrar said: "These schools will be leading the way by harnessing the finest teaching talent in the profession to drive school improvement in innovative ways, and bring real benefits to pupils and staff.

"Trainees can learn from the best teachers in action and those who want to move up the career ladder are exposed to excellent practice within and beyond their immediate school."

Two years ago, King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham, became the first independent school to be designated a teaching school.

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