A "TEACHING" school in Bolton is helping to tackle the crisis in teaching recruitment and retention.

Prestolee School Centred Initial Teaching Training (SCITT) has already helped to drive up the number of high quality teachers training and working in Bolton.

And now it will be doing the same across Greater Manchester and beyond.

Figures show that in the Bolton, Bury and Greater Manchester area, a higher than national percentage of graduates from Prestolee SCITT have been employed in local schools following the completion of their course.

Mor than 98 per cent of graduates trained at the Prestolee SCITT have qualified with outstanding or good ratings and this figure has increased year on year.

The programme seems to be bucking the trend of declining numbers entering the teaching profession as the number of trainees on the course has increased steadily each year, with an increase also in the number of males and over 25s applying.

Now the team behind the Prestolee SCITT have granted funding from the Department for Education to replicate this provision further afield with new training hubs in Oldham and Yorkshire and Merseyside.

The aim is to train people who live in the area to become outstanding primary school teachers who will go on to work in schools in the area.

The SCITT programme offers those looking to become fully qualified teachers a one year route. On a school led teacher training route, trainees spend the majority of their time in schools, learning on the job, and are taught by tutors and mentors with current and relevant classroom experience.

Former trainee and current Prestolee teacher, Alex Kirwan, said: "The quality of the training set Prestolee apart for me and the fact that the trainers are still in teaching means the students get to learn the most current best practice from people who are actively involved in schools. There is a real family feel to it and the support system from the trainees and staff was really strong.”

Former trainee, Nicole Devlin, said: “I chose school led training because I wanted to based in a school straight away not sat in a lecture theatre.”

Kirsty Lowther added: : “The course was highly recommended and I liked that it was more personal than a university course as you are known and not just one of many. We definitely had more opportunities and experiences available to us through doing a school led route.”

And say the team behind Prestolee SCITT, by immersing trainees in schools they are able to gain valuable real-world experience and learn the very best current teaching methods.

Michael Tonge, Executive Head of Prestolee Multi Academy Trust, said: “We believe that no child ever gets a second chance at primary education and that it is morally right that all our learners are equipped with the skills needed to have a great start in life, to provide for themselves and their families. That means great skills, great application of skills and wide experiences.”

Vicky Gould, Initial Teacher Training Lead at Prestolee SCITT, said: “We recognise that teaching is a complex and often challenging profession but it's also one of the most rewarding and worthwhile professions around. The SCITT prepares student teachers for every aspect of teaching, ensuring newly qualified teachers are best prepared with the skill-set needed to be an effective and successful teacher for the next generation.”

The training programme is open to top graduates and career changers as well as those that are already working at, or have an existing relationship with, a school and want to take the next step to become a teacher.

For more details see www.prestoleescitt.co.uk or call 01204 335756.