Academy at Shotton Hall announced as one of six new research schools in England

The Academy at Shotton Hall has been named as one of six new ‘research schools’ in England.

The Outstanding-graded Peterlee secondary school has been selected to receive £200k of funding to help improve the quality of teaching in the region by getting more teachers to use academic research in ways that make a difference in the classroom.

Over the next three years, it will work to break down barriers between teachers and academics by developing a programme of support and events for North East schools. These will include a range of training programmes designed to make research more accessible for teachers and bringing, what can too often be dismissed as complex concepts and principles, to life for use in the classroom.

The latest round of announcements brings the total number of research schools in the country to 11. They are:

Louise Quinn, Director of Shotton Hall Research School, who led the Academy’s bid said:

“As the founding school of the North East Learning Trust, a network of schools in the North East, we are well placed to lead on this exciting opportunity for the region. Making educational research accessible to teachers is at the heart of Research Schools. More importantly, they communicate what is most likely to work in terms of moving students on. Becoming a Research School not only puts us at the centre of innovative practice, but it gives us another method of improving outcomes for the children of the north east.”

SCHOOLS NorthEast welcomed the news and Director Mike Parker added:

“We need a step change in achievement, particularly at GCSE and A Level, and having a dedicated research school in the region will give a clear focus for engaging all North East schools in evidence-based education so that pupils achieve their full potential. We will do everything we can to support the Academy at Shotton Hall and help it to bring research into teaching practice for as many of our schools as possible.”

Continue reading “Academy at Shotton Hall announced as one of six new research schools in England”

Number of teacher training recruits drops

Figures published yesterday by UCAS reveal a drop of almost 7% in acceptances to teacher training programmes in England and Wales in 2016-17.

But the North East is the region faring the best in the country in terms of placing trainee teachers.

In England and Wales, only 26,000 recruits were accepted on to teacher training courses for 2016-17, as government targets for recruitment in the profession have been missed for five consecutive years. This is a decrease of 1,900 acceptances since last year.

The North East has the highest proportion of teacher training recruits, with over 60% (1,210) of the 2,000 existing applicants in the region having been placed. Overall, 1,300 applicants from across the country got a place with a North East provider out of a total of 5,700 applications.

However, both the number of applicants from the region and applications to North East providers have decreased by over 2.6% compared to last year.

SCHOOLS NorthEast launched an initiative last year aimed at helping schools in the region recruit the best possible candidates to fill their teaching and supply vacancies. This jobs board was created by schools for schools and it is a cost-effective solution to their recruitment needs. It can cost as little as £150 to advertise unlimited vacancies for a year. Please visit to see the website, or email for further details. 

Speaking to the BBC, Malcolm Trobe, acting general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

There are severe teacher shortages in schools across the country, particularly in maths and science.

Schools have to rely upon supply staff and non-specialists to teach many classes.

MPs show great deal of interest in mental health commission launched by SCHOOLS NorthEast

On Tuesday, the Health and Education select committees held a joint session to take evidence from experts on the role of education in children and young people’s mental health. One of these experts was Professor Dame Sue Bailey, who co-chairs Healthy MindED – the first schools-led commission into pupils’ mental health, launched by SCHOOLS NorthEast at our Summit in October.

Professor Bailey informed the committee of the innovative approach that schools in our region are taking to address the worrying decline in pupils’ mental health and wellbeing, through the work of the commission. MPs showed a great deal of interest in the collective approach that North East schools are taking to address a shared problem.

Also giving evidence were Kate Fallon from the Association of Educational Psychologists (based in Durham), Emily Frith from the Education Policy Institute and Sarah Brennan from the charity Young Minds.

Continue reading “MPs show great deal of interest in mental health commission launched by SCHOOLS NorthEast”

Middlesbrough school and World record holder team up to climb to the top

SCHOOLS NorthEast brokers resilience initiative between record-setting mountaineer and regional school

Macmillan Academy is the first school in the North East to take part


SCHOOLS NorthEast, the representative body of all 1,250 schools across the region, is delighted to announce that World record holder Masha Gordon launched a confidence-boosting programme with Macmillan Academy to tackle the ‘bravery deficit’ experienced by teenage girls.

GRIT&ROCK, the charity founded by Masha to share her record breaking journey in order to inspire teenage girls aged 13 to 15 from deprived, inner city backgrounds, will be rolling out the project for the first time in the North East at the Middlesbrough school.

The initiative aims to support girls in developing greater grit, determination and self-confidence through a year-long mountaineering training programme.

The Year 10 and 12 girls at Macmillan Academy who are part of the programme will be working with GRIT&ROCK, along with the school, to boost their confidence by undertaking exciting and challenging outdoors activities including wall climbing and high wires.

The teenagers will benefit from a programme that features weekly supervised indoor climbing sessions, two outdoors scrambling courses in the UK and an alpine skills initiation course during the June half-term. They will also receive mentorship from women with inspirational stories, including the charity’s patron Hazel Findlay.

Before taking on the world’s highest peaks, Masha Gordon was Managing Director of Goldman Sachs. She was named among “Top 40 under 40 in Asset Management Industry” and ‘Rising Stars in Finance” by Financial News.

Continue reading “Middlesbrough school and World record holder team up to climb to the top”

PM and Labour leader in heated PMQs debate over grammar schools plans

Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday saw Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn clash over the Government’s new plan to expand grammar schools in England.

Mrs May said Mr Corbyn should “stop casting his mind back to the 1950s”, after the opposition leader stated the Prime Minister wants to “expand a system that can only let children down”.

She said 1.25 million pupils were currently in schools which were “failing, inadequate or in need of improvement” and the plans – allied to the expansion of faith schools and more obligations on private schools – would give every child the high-quality education they deserved to enable them to “go where their talents take them”.

Both leaders attended grammar schools, a fact brought up by the Prime Minister towards the end of the debate.

Mr Corbyn has recently vowed to scrap the expansion plans and make this his top priority if he becomes Prime Minister.

Tall Ships Youth Trust announces new Summer Voyage

Departing from Sunderland and arriving in Ipswich this 12-15 year old Youth Voyage is sure to be a hit. Arising due to a last minute cancellation we are offering this voyage on a Buy one get on Half Price basis for a limited time. Beginning on the 25th of July and lasting 7 nights until 1st August this voyage will take in the stunning North East Coast of the UK and will no doubt leave the young people who participate with memories and friendships that will last them a lifetime.

In order to avail of the offer please contact the office on 02392832055 to speak to a member of the reservations team.

Tall Ships Youth Trust are the UK’s oldest and largest sail training charity, dedicated to the personal development of young people age 12 to 25, through the crewing of ocean-going sail training vessels. As a youth charity, we provide bursaries and funding to help young people get on board and realise their full potential. Sailing as part of a Tall Ships crew makes for a participative and empowering experience and our fleet provides a unique, physically and mentally challenging residential setting in which young people can explore their true potential.

To find out more contact Tall Ships Adventures on 023 9283 2055 or visit

Uncertainty over the effectiveness of costly incentives for prospective teachers, NAO warns MPs

The cost of bursaries for new teachers will amount to nearly £1bn by next year, but their effectiveness remains unclear, warns the National Audit Office. 

Mark Parrett, Audit Manager at the Government spending watchdog, told the Education Select Committee that the NAO’s request for a better evaluation of the incentives to attract candidates to the profession had not been met by the Department for Education.


The Education Select Committee held a session on teacher supply, hearing from no less than nine different experts, including Prof Sir John Holman (President-elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry), Jenni French (Programme Manager in the Education Team, Gatsby Charitable Foundation and Joanna Hall, Deputy Director for Schools, Ofsted).

Mr Parrett told MPs: “On bursaries, the department did some qualitative analysis in 2012/13 and some quantitative analysis in 2013/14, which showed some link between bursaries and people wanting to apply to train as teachers, and that did show some positive relationship.

“However, they haven’t extended that to look at whether people then actually went on to apply, completed the training and went on into teaching and how well they did.”

Witnesses on the panel stated that the Government’s national perspective on issues to do with teacher supply does not give enough of an insight into what is happening at a local level, and that their data does not paint an accurate picture as it’s collected in December, when schools will have temporarily filled their vacancies. Ofsted’s Joanna Hall explained that the watchdog has concerns regarding the “granularity of regional and local data” on teacher demand.

Much of the session focused on Continuing Professional Development (CPD), with witnesses stating that Head Teachers need to modify their approach to it, as a lot of CPD has become “superficial”and that teachers need to take control of it. Jane Courtney, Deans of Education Network, pointed out that research suggests a minimum of 30 hours’ “cyclical imput” with practice in order for CPD to be effective.

A Head Teacher also part of the panel giving evidence argued that the biggest problem with CPD is caused by “snake oil salesmen” offering enticing presentation that ultimately prove to have no lasting impact. Sir John Holman suggested that if there is demand for high-quality CPD, then providers will oblige.

You can replay the evidence session here.


MPs debate education announcements in Queen’s Speech

Education, skills and training were top of the agenda on Wednesday as MPs debated the Queen’s Speech.

While the debate focused mostly on higher education fees and teaching quality, as well as apprenticeships, the Education and Adoption Bill was also scrutinised.

Education Select Committee Chairman and Conservative MP Neil Carmichael focused on the reform of the funding formula, saying that fairer funding is needed and that the Committee will look into the proposals made by the Department. SCHOOLS NorthEast has previously raised concerns regarding plans for an Area Cost Adjustment which potentially would adversely affect the region as part of submitted evidence to the DfE consultation which is available to read here.

Opposition MPs were critical of the Government after Education Secretary Nicky Morgan changed plans to force all schools to become academies. Angela Eagle MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, branded the Government’s decision to let go of the proposed forced academisation of all schools as a “humiliating climbdown” and argued they are obsessed with structure: “This government is ideological at the expense of our children”. Her comments were followed by Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson’s reiteration of the Government’s focus on converting schools into academies, but pointed out “we have listened to criticism and won’t force those in well-performing councils”.

Discussing the latest government announcement that academisation will only be forced in the case of schools that are maintained by underperforming and unviable councils, Mr Carmichael has called on the DfE to provide more clarity on the exact definition of these terms.

North East MP Robert Blackman-Woods said the Queen’s Speech had not redressed the “chronic teacher shortage” the education sector is facing.

£20m/year strategy to improve North schools

The Government is to invest £20m/year in improving education standards across the North of England as part of its Northern Powerhouse initiative, it was announced yesterday.

Bradford academy head Sir Nick Weller has been appointed to lead a review of education in the North which will identify where the money should be allocated.

In making the announcement, Chancellor George Osborne outlined his desire to see “the same improvement in Northern Powerhouse schools as in London”.

SCHOOLS NorthEast has contacted Sir Nick to request a meeting to ensure that North East schools have a strong voice in the report. Continue reading “£20m/year strategy to improve North schools”