A SCHOOL has become the first in Bolton and only one of a handful nationwide to be selected to help further raise standards in the teaching profession.

Ladywood School in Little Lever, is one of just 200 in the country to be designated a National Teaching School.

It’s new status awarded to it by the National College for School Leadership allows it to lead the training and professional development for teachers — from those starting their career, through to those wanting to become leaders — as well as providing support for other schools to raise standards.

To be selected, schools have to be among the best in the country.

Sally McFarlane, headteacher, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this honour. We are excited about fulfilling this new role and with the support of our partner schools, this opportunity will help us to continue our pursuit of achieving the very best educational outcomes for all our children.”

The teaching schools initiative began last autumn, marking a shift towards school-centred training and development. The programme gives outstanding schools the freedom and autonomy to lead a group of schools, working with other partners, including at least one university, to deliver high quality support for teachers and at all stages in their career.

Ladywood plans, initially, to work in partnership with four other schools in Bolton — Rivington and Blackrod High School in Horwich, Greenfold School in Farnworth, The Oaks Primary in Sharples and St Paul’s CE Primary School in Astley Bridge, to deliver high quality support and training.

Together these schools will form The Ladywood Teaching School Alliance.

Ladywood applied to become a teaching school as it was already a national support school, helping support other schools.

Mrs McFarlane, who is a National Leader in Education, said this would be the next logical step in supporting schools while leading training development for teachers.

This she said would benefit her staff and pupils as schools would share good practice and Ladywood would have to remain outstanding to be able to lead the training of teachers.

Steve Munby, chief executive of the National College, said: “Teaching schools like Ladywood 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.

“We now have more than 200 teaching schools around the country which are in a position to harness 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.”

The initiative has been compared to that of teaching hospitals which train current and future generations of medical teams while providing good medial care.

The idea is to provide teachers with the same opportunities to provide initial teacher training and on going professional development.

Education Secretary Michael Gove described teaching schools as “the engines that will help weaker schools to raise their academic standards and to improve behaviour.”