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A group of teachers who passed a rigorous training and research programme nine months ahead of schedule have been hailed as “trailblazers”.

The eight staff members from schools in Haverhill, Newmarket and Great Cornard have become the first to go through the Lead Practitioners scheme, set up by Samuel Ward Academy Trust’s Research School with the SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network.

The group will now work with other teachers – from both within and outside of the Trust – to ensure students are getting the most from their education.

Chris Dale, Director of the Research School, congratulated the first cohort on the dedication they showed to the programme.

He said: “Our first group of Lead Practitioners have shown admirable commitment and passion to the programme. It would usually take at least a year to complete but they have achieved their accreditation in just three months due to the calibre of staff taking part.

“They are real trailblazers and I would like to congratulate them all. They will now be followed by another group of staff from secondary and primary schools, both within and outside the Trust.”

This Trust-led Lead Practitioner scheme is the first in Suffolk and recognises the skills, experience and qualities of school staff at every level.

Having achieved the accreditation, the staff are viewed as highly-skilled role models who will now work within their own schools and also with other schools across Suffolk who may benefit from it.

Mr Dale added: “Seven of the group have also become LP trainers which means they can help others gain their accreditation going forward. This will only further improve standards across the county.”

The eight teachers who achieved the accreditation were: Rachel Brown (English teacher – Samuel Ward Academy); Louise Cassels (Science – Castle Manor Academy); Kerrie Cavilla (Geography – Samuel Ward Academy); Rachel Clarke (Maths – Samuel Ward Academy); Sarah Cooper (Maths – Thomas Gainsborough School); Melanie Davies (English – Newmarket Academy); Rosaleen Furey (English – Thomas Gainsborough School); Lucy Nichol (Art – Thomas Gainsborough School).

They all received Lead Practitioner Accreditation from SSAT in the programme’s autumn 2017 accreditation gateway. SSAT Chief Executive Sue Williamson said: “We are delighted to recognise the achievement of the newest accredited Lead Practitioners joining SSAT’s network.

“They have demonstrated through their application how the work they have done has impacted on both the teachers and students in their own school and others across the region.”

Dr Tim Coulson, Chief Executive of Samuel Ward Academy Trust, said: “The trust has amazing teachers who are helping yet more to be amazing too. We are delighted to have such talented staff prepared and able to share and spread their expertise.”