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Pivotal partnership to support University’s teachers of tomorrow

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Published on 15 February 2022

(L-R) Jo Heaton, Professor Lynne McKenna and Zoe Thompson
(L-R) Jo Heaton, Professor Lynne McKenna and Zoe Thompson

An exciting new partnership aims to play a key role in supporting the next generation of teachers.

The University of Sunderland’s School of Education has joined forces with the Northern Lights Teaching School Hub, to ensure trainee teachers are supported, nurtured and given the opportunity to excel as they prepare to enter the classroom.

The Department for Education (DfE) recently announced that all providers wishing to offer Initial Teacher Training courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from 2024 are required to undergo an accreditation process to achieve "quality assurance of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) provision" as set out in the Government’s ITT market review.

Professor Lynne McKenna, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, said: “The Market Review proposes a ‘Golden Thread’ of Initial Teacher Training (ITT), the Early Career Framework (ECF) and National Professional Qualifications (NPQs).

“Key to our continued success in delivering and supporting the Golden Thread is securing successful partnerships which will help shape the delivery of our Initial teacher training and continuing professional development programmes. It is by engaging and working in partnership with our schools and Teaching School Hubs that this can be achieved.”

Professor McKenna and Jo Heaton, CEO of the Northern Lights Learning Trust and Strategic Lead of the Teaching School Hub, began discussions around ways in which the University and the Teaching School Hub could collaborate and support each other early in the 2021-22 academic year.

Jo has joined the ITT Executive Partnership Committee and a reciprocal arrangement is in place for Professor McKenna to join the Strategic Partnership Group of the TSH.

As a designated Teaching School Hub, Northern Lights is accountable for providing high quality professional development across all phases and settings within its designated sub region; Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead.

The purpose of this partnership is to agree and secure the collaborative working arrangements, based on transparency and quality in relation to Initial Teacher Training and professional development of teachers.

Jo said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University. The Northern Lights Teaching School Hub prides itself on working with the key partners in the region and the new Hubs provide a real opportunity for us to produce some of the best teacher development in the country – we look forward to working with the University to ensure that the development for teachers and leaders is excellent and impacts on the outcomes for children and young people in our region and beyond.”

Zoe Thompson, Northern Lights Teaching School Hub Leader said: “Working collaboratively with our partners in the region, including the University, is a key part of the Hub’s vision to enable us to work together and ensure all in the teaching profession – from trainee teachers to executive leaders – receive the best professional development and provide the best opportunities for children and young people.

“The partnership will support teachers during an exciting time in education and we look forward to working with Sunderland University to do so.”