Leading Sunderland school shows others the way

Head Teacher Teresa Laybourne with some of the pupils from Town End Academy, celebrating the school receiving a teaching school status.
Head Teacher Teresa Laybourne with some of the pupils from Town End Academy, celebrating the school receiving a teaching school status.
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A SUNDERLAND primary school is helping raise standards of teaching across the UK after it was chosen for a specialist role.

Town End Academy is the only Sunderland school, and one of just 100 nationally, to be granted teaching status.

The accolade means the Borodin Avenue primary will spearhead the training and development of teachers in classrooms across the city, providing help and support to all schools.

Teresa Laybourne, headteacher at the academy, said: “We were absolutely delighted to be chosen. It is great for our school, but it is also fabulous for Sunderland to have a teaching school in the city.

“It is about partnership working and schools helping each other to make sure that all schools are supported to perform. We will be working with other schools right across the city.”

Applications for teaching status were only open to the country’s outstanding schools, which also had to show they were already helping other schools to improve.

Mrs Leybourne, who is also head of Bexhill Academy and is overseeing the turnaround of Hastings Hill Primary School, said having teaching status means they will be heavily involved in recruiting and working with trainee teachers, talent spotting, planning and development in the profession.

Led by the National College for School Leadership, the teaching programme was launched last autumn and marks a change towards school-centred training and development.

It gives outstanding schools the freedom and autonomy to lead a group of others, working with partners, including at least one university, to deliver high-quality support for teachers and leaders at all stages in their career.

The aim is for the country to have 500 teaching schools by 2014.

Steve Munby, chief executive of the National College for School Leadership, said: “Teaching schools like Town End Academy need to be at the top of their game to take on this role, outstanding in their own performance and have a track record of raising standards through school-to-school support.”

He believes the project will allow the country’s finest teaching talent to drive school improvement in innovative ways and bring benefits to pupils and staff.

Mr Munby said: “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.”

Twitter:@Sunechoschools