Calls for teacher training centre in the Fens

GCSE results at Thomas Clarkson Academy. Principal Clare Claxton.

GCSE results at Thomas Clarkson Academy. Principal Clare Claxton. - Credit: Archant

Teachers must be encouraged to work in the Fens by setting up a centre of training excellence, according to a local head teacher.

Thomas Clarkson principal Clare Claxton and North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay have joined forces to call for a Fenland centre of teacher training to cover Cambridgeshire, West Norfolk and South Lincolnshire.

Mrs Claxton said: “Progress and attainment require improvement in many Wisbech schools as well as others across Fenland. “One of the ways of changing this is high quality professional development.”

At the moment teachers have to attend courses in Cambridge that are not only expensive but also time consuming for those in the north of the county.

Mrs Claxton said: “The idea of a vibrant professional development programme is one that services the needs of teachers in their initial training, through their NQT year, to middle leadership and ultimately training leaders of the future.

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“Fenland and South West Norfolk badly need a training centre to service this need to encourage recruitment, retention and talent management of both teaching and support staff.”

Wisbech headteachers have unanimously agreed, together with the Local Authority and eight West Norfolk schools, to help fund a scheme commissioned by several multi-academy trusts including Brooke Weston Trust, Elliott Foundation and Diocese of Ely which operates Thomas Clarkson, to deliver a new methodology for career progression and development based on local need.

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This will include the improving and outstanding teacher programmes plus the nationally accredited middle and senior leadership programmes.

The scheme needs a further £8,000 to see the project through the first year after which it should become self-funding.

Mr Barclay said: “It is clear from feedback from both primary and secondary schools there are two specific challenges - the low spending compared to other areas such as Peterborough and the difficulty of recruiting teachers given our rural location and poor transport links.

“The first step has been taken on addressing the funding challenge by securing the biggest increase in school funding for Cambridgeshire of any county in the country with an eight per cent rise next year.

“This will help but does not fully resolve the low funding inherited from the last government and more still needs to be done to rebalance our funding with other parts of the country.

“The second challenge of teacher recruitment will be helped greatly by having a centre of excellence for teacher training in the Fens. This will make local schools more attractive as a career option for ambitious teachers whilst also maximising fully the potential of the talent already teaching in local schools.”

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