FIVE Church of England schools in the Diocese of Durham have received substantial funding for a new educational alliance designed to to drive up standards.

The collaborative is known as the Prince Bishop Teaching School Alliance and consists of two secondary schools – Whitburn Academy in South Tyneside and Venerable Bede Academy on Wearside, together with three primary schools – Benedict Biscop Academy and St Paul’s Primary, both in Sunderland, and Cleadon Primary in South Tyneside.

The Alliance has been given approval by the National College for Teaching and Learning.

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It will release more that £300,000 over four years to enable the highly successful schools to work with other Cof E schools, universities, local authorities and community schools, throughout the two dioceses to develop and enhance the quality of teaching and leadership.

The Prince Bishop Teaching School Alliance comprises five outstanding or good Cof E schools with an emphasis on improvement across all phases, including a strong emphasis on closing gaps in attainment. Two of the schools, Benedict Biscop Academy and Whitburn Cof E Academy have been designated as Teaching Schools, recognising their excellence.

Jeremy Fitt, director of education for the dioceses of Durham and Newcastle said: “We are committed to inclusivity and will work in partnership with other faith and non-denominational schools to further develop this. “Our aim is to increase capacity amongst Cof E Schools in Durham/Newcastle dioceses, further raising attainment amongst 25,000 pupils, many of whom contend with challenges. We believe that we have the capacity and expertise to drive improvements in teaching and learning which will improve outcomes for pupils in all schools who work with our Alliance.”