TWO outstanding South Lakeland schools have been chosen to help lead the way in raising teaching and edu-cation standards.

Queen Katherine School, in Kendal, and Arnside National Primary School have been granted teaching school status, joining only 148 others across the country.

The kitemark gives schools with the top Ofsted rating the freedom to lead a group of schools, working with other partners including at least one university, to deliver high-quality support for teachers and leaders at all stages in their career.

Staff from both schools will now attend a formal induction at the National College’s learning and conference centre in Nottingham.

Alan Cook, head teacher at Arnside, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for rural South Lakes schools to work together to make sure our children receive the best possible education.

“Although it is a big responsibility for Arnside to lead this initiative, there is very strong support from our primary partners, and especially Dallam School, to work together to make it a great success.”

Stephen Wilkinson, head teacher at Queen Katherine School, added: “I hope this will strengthen the work of the ground-breaking Cumbria Alliance of schools and the local networks already in existence.”

Once registered, teaching schools play a key role in leading the training and professional development of teachers, support staff and head teachers, while raising standards through school-to-school support. They bring together provision for training and development from initial teacher training through to headship.

Maggie Farrar, executive director at the National College, said: “Trainees can learn from the best teachers in action and those who want to move up the career ladder are exposed to excellent practice within and beyond their immediate school.”

Both schools were among 150 awarded the status in the latest round, bringing the total to 366. The Government hopes to have 500 by 2015.