City schools in bid for teacher training status

084213-2133_MARY_ROSE_SCHOOL_(SD) MRW 16/10/2008''// Official opening day as a Sports College at Mary Rose School  in Portsmouth - BBC ad star Ade Adepitan (centre) with children (left) Ben Prince (12) accompanied by Vernon Phipps (63) from The Mary Rose Museum and (right) Holly Barnes (12) accompanied by  Chris Jones (17) from St John's College Southsea  // ''//FILER GV//''PICTURE: MALCOLM WELLS (084213-2133)
084213-2133_MARY_ROSE_SCHOOL_(SD) MRW 16/10/2008''// Official opening day as a Sports College at Mary Rose School in Portsmouth - BBC ad star Ade Adepitan (centre) with children (left) Ben Prince (12) accompanied by Vernon Phipps (63) from The Mary Rose Museum and (right) Holly Barnes (12) accompanied by Chris Jones (17) from St John's College Southsea // ''//FILER GV//''PICTURE: MALCOLM WELLS (084213-2133)
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A TOP-performing special school in Portsmouth is leading a bid that could help attract the best teaching graduates to the city.

Mary Rose School in Southsea, a school for special needs children which is rated outstanding by Ofsted, will find out if it has won teaching school status on March 26.

The designation would entitle it to lead high-quality teacher training as well as professional development for staff.

That would make the school a prime destination for promising trainee teachers from across the country.

And it would help improve special educational needs (SEN) teaching in mainstream schools – meaning more children who need extra help could be taught in the city’s mainstream schools.

Alison Beane, head of Mary Rose which caters for two to 19-year-olds with moderate to profound learning difficulties, said: ‘This is an exciting time for us and we hope we’re successful as we all want high quality teaching and learning in Portsmouth.

‘The teaching school status would pool expertise not only from the city but from beyond, and we’ll have all sorts of opportunities.

‘Nationally, there is a lack of SEN training and at Mary Rose we normally teach on the job which is very time consuming.

‘It would be wonderful to have more resources for SEN teaching, which would tackle one of the focus areas of the city to improve the progress of people with special needs in mainstream schools.’

She added: ‘It’s a massive responsibility but this is a team effort and not a single school in the city has said they would not want to be involved.’

A strategic board representing city nurseries, primaries, secondaries, and the universities of Portsmouth, Chichester and Winchester has been formed to represent the bid.

If successful, the board will be asked for a more detailed proposal to gain the status, worth £180,000 in funding over four years.

One lead partner is City of Portsmouth Girls’, whose designation as a training school – with a specialist unit that mentors up to 25 trainee teachers a term – is due to expire on March 31.

Jerry Goddard, of City Girls, said: ‘We hope we are chosen – our bid has such a breadth of schools and expertise and we would look forward to building on our own outstanding facility for training and professional development.

‘What we are doing is putting good teachers back into the system.

‘We want to continue to do that especially at a time when the local education authority does not have the capacity to provide courses, coaching, training and mentoring.

‘This is the lifeblood of our schools.’