THE principal of a Teesside college returned to the classroom this week as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Phil Cook of Stockton Riverside College took over from two apprentices working at Oxbridge Lane Primary School, in Stockton.

The college head helped youngsters at the school brush up on their numeracy skills as he took over the role of classroom assistant.

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“It was fantastic,” said Phil. “It was great to meet the apprentices. The head teacher is very committed to staff training and development and the children were wonderful.”

Stockton Riverside students Katie Saunders and Natalie Parkinson, both from Stockton, are carrying out placements at the primary school as part of their courses in supporting teaching and learning and childvare.

Dianne Gage, head teacher at Oxbridge Lane, said: “Apprentices are really valuable to the school. They help to support the children. It is learning on the job for the apprentices and it helps them develop their own skills.”

The principal’s visit to the primary school marked the start of National Apprenticeship Week, a national event designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

Stockton Riverside offers apprenticeships from beauty to bricklaying, painting and decorating to retail.