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Training status helps standards

Schools in a scheme to boost teacher training have seen knock-on improvements in pupil achievement and staff morale, inspectors say.

The Government's Training Schools programme has raised standards by motivating staff and encouraging them to analyse their own teaching, an investigation by the Office for Standards in Education found. The scheme also improved the training of student teachers placed at the schools and was good value for money, Ofsted said.

Launched in 2000, the Training Schools programme is intended to spread good practice in initial training, conduct research and train teachers to act as mentors to trainees.

Each of the 82 training schools gets an annual grant of up to pound;100,000 to provide staff cover, do outreach work and buy equipment.

Almost 75 per cent of the schools visited by inspectors have taken a higher number of trainees since joining the scheme, with some taking more than 100 students each year. Two-thirds reported that the scheme had eased recruitment and retention difficulties. And more than one in three schools reported that training status had a positive impact on morale.

Chief inspector David Bell said: "The initiative has had an extremely positive impact on initial teacher training.

But the report warned that more work needs to be done to evaluate the scheme's effect on teaching and learning and to disseminate good practice.

Some schools were held back because they did not do enough self-evaluation, it said.

An Evaluation of the Training Schools Programme is at www.ofsted.gov.uk

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