A groundbreaking alliance of five secondary schools has been granted “teaching school” status by the Department for Education (DfE).
The Pavilion and Downs Teaching School Alliance includes four schools in Brighton and Hove – Blatchington Mill, Dorothy Stringer, Hove Park and Varndean School.
The fifth school, Steyning Grammar, in West Sussex, is headed by former Blatch deputy head Nick Wergan.
The five schools will take a key role in training the teachers of tomorrow, supporting other schools and developing those staff with the potential to become head teachers.
All five schools have been awarded teaching school status in their own right but for the first time education officials have conferred the status on an alliance of schools.
And previously only outstanding schools could become teaching schools but all five members of the local alliance are rated good – the next best grade.
It has been suggested that the seal of approval from the DfE and the National College for Teaching and Leadership recognises the excellence of the members of the local schools alliance.
The alliance said: “Teaching schools take a leading role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession.
“They identify and develop leadership potential, provide support for other schools and work with schools across their alliance to raise standards of teaching.
“The Pavilion and Downs Teaching School Alliance will make a significant contribution to raising standards and improving life chances for all young people in the West Sussex and Brighton and Hove area.”
The alliance said that it would be “based on partnership and collaboration” with schools across the West Sussex and Brighton and Hove area.
The five schools said that the alliance was part of a group of about 30 schools in England to be granted teaching school status in the latest round.
The concept of teaching schools, introduced in 2011, relies on excellent schools working to ensure high-quality school-led initial teacher training and professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career.
They are expected to raise standards by supporting other schools, engaging in research and development and ensuring that the most talented school leaders are spotted and supported to become successful head teachers.
Blatch head Ashley Harrold said: “This allows us to develop the next generation of talented leaders which will have a profound impact on the success of young people.”
Stringer head Richard Bradford said: “I am excited by the opportunity this gives us to improve professional development across the schools in the alliance.
“It will allow all our teachers to share ideas, learn from one another and further enhance our practice which will benefit all our students.”
Hove Park head Rob Reed said: “We will have the opportunity to recruit the very best teachers for the maximum benefit all of young people in the Pavilion and Downs area.”
Steyning Grammar head Nick Wergan said: “Our collaborative commitment to action research and professional development underlines our determination to continually deliver excellent teaching and learning for all our students.”
And Varndean School head William Deighan said: “This is a natural extension of the close working relationship between our schools that is having a positive impact on student progress.”
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has responsibility, in partnership with head teachers from the Teaching Schools Council, for the designation and quality of the teaching schools programme. There are now over 700 teaching schools across England.
Roger Pope, the chairman of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “Teaching schools are at the heart of school improvement.
“They’re supporting other schools, attracting and training the best new teachers and developing the next generation of leaders.”