Eton masters to train in Slough

Eton college, the alma mater of royalty, is breaking with tradition by sending teachers to be trained in state schools.

Three staff from the pound;19,098-a-year boys school are linking up with nearby Slough grammar to gain formal qualified teacher status. The trio will be put through their paces alongside 30 other trainees at the grammar school, which is a designated training centre, as they complete their postgraduate certificate in education.

It could be something of a culture shock for the private-school teachers, who have all been teaching for some time and include one who has worked at Eton for eight years.

Slough is a mixed grammar school in the heart of the Berkshire town, attracting 1,112 boys and girls from a wide area. The school is culturally diverse, has around 30 pupils on its special needs register and, according to inspectors, attracts pupils from a "wide economic mix".

Eton, on the other hand, is one of the most exclusive schools in the country. Founded by Henry VI in 1440, it has 1,285 boarding pupils and its old boys include Princes William and Harry as well as former prime ministers Sir Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan.

But Margaret Lenton, the principal of Slough grammar, said: "We will treat them the same we treat anyone else. I think it is an excellent arrangement and we will have as much to learn from them as they do from us."

Private-school teachers do not need qualified status to work in the classroom. John Puddefoot, Eton's deputy head, said some teachers arrived at the school with full qualifications but many others were recruited direct from industry.

Eton's unqualified teachers can gain QTS as they work and many do PGCE courses at universities in the South-east, but this is the first time the college has linked up with a school-based training centre.

The three teachers doing the course at Slough grammar are likely to do placements at other state schools in the town.

Mr Puddefoot said: "We have a strong belief in the best professional standards and there is value for us in having as many teachers as possible with QTS.

"We have a very good working relationship with Slough grammar and the opportunity arose to put some of our teachers through their training programme. They will benefit greatly by being given the opportunity to teach in another school."

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