Teacher training programme achieves top Ofsted

Sean Holden

A teacher training programme with close ties to Bennett Memorial Diocesan School has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for the second year running.

The Bromley Schools’ Collegiate is affiliated to many schools in the south-east and oversees the teacher training which is undertaken in the individual schools.

Having worked with the collegiate for the past two years, Bennett is currently training seven future teachers, each of which spend four days in the classrooms of the Tunbridge Wells school.

Richard Tyson, who is the director of Bennett’s teaching school said he was ‘very pleased’ with the latest assessment from Ofsted, which he believes reflects the quality practices undertaken by the collegiate.

He said: “We have worked with them for the past two years and I have been really impressed with their school-focused approach.”

The high quality of the trainees means so far Bennett has employed every single one of the teachers which graduate from its course, he said, adding: “I hope that tradition will continue. There is a real richness in training staff member’s right from the start of their career.”

The collegiate boasts a high level of retention for its trainee staff, with over 90 per cent choosing to remain in the profession within the first year.

This has led to Mr Tyson considering expanding Bennett’s own programme.

He said: “We have been looking to gradually expand and take on more trainees. We believe it is very beneficial to be able to teach new staff in pairs.

“For example, if you have two trainees looking to teach history, they are able to form a professional dialogue between one another and that sort of engagement helps them to develop.”

Any expansion comes at a time when the south-east is facing a massive shortfall in trained teachers said Mr Tyson. He added: “The more we can train, the more we can help fill these vacancies. I very much see this as schools taking the lead on this. It is important we help shape the next generation of teachers.”

The Lead Headteacher of the Bromley Schools’ Collegiate Karen Raven, said they were ‘absolutely delighted’ with the ‘richly deserved outcome.’

She added: “It truly reflects the exceptional quality of our teacher training and secures our place as the country’s leading school-based provider.

“We are responsive to local need, with outstanding models of practice across our partnership of schools.

“We intend to consolidate upon this, with future plans for wider workforce development for education. Our credentials speak for themselves.”

A history of Bennett Memorial Diocesan School

Bennett Memorial Diocesan School was founded in 1951 by Lady Elena Bennett of Mat? eld. It started life as an all-girls school and was named by Mrs Bennett at a tribute to her husband, Sir Thomas Bennett, who had recently died.

She was also helped in the establishment of the school by Christopher Chavasse, the Bishop
of Rochester, who along with Lady Bennett’s own beliefs, shaped the Christian ethos for which the school is still well known.

The school motto Semper Tenax, (‘ever holding fast’) was chosen by Lady Bennett because she believed the school would always retain the Christian values it had been been founded to teach.

The school was converted to a comprehensive school in 1976 and reached another milestone in 1992 when if first admitted boys into year 7.

In 2011 Bennett gained ‘academy’ status, bringing new freedom and opportunity to help shape the lives of the almost 1,500 pupils who attend the school.

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