Headteacher on ‘moral’ crusade as Eleanor Palmer named Camden’s first ‘teaching school’

Kate Frood, headteacher of Eleanor Palmer, pictured with young pupils. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Kate Frood, headteacher of Eleanor Palmer, pictured with young pupils. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The headteacher of the first Camden school to be named as a mentor to others in the borough says the new status gives her a “moral purpose” to help improve schools across Camden and beyond.

Eleanor Palmer Primary is now one of only 350 schools across the country to be selected as a National Teaching School by the National College for School Leadership.

The school, in Lupton Road, Tufnell Park, was chosen for the role on March 1 after receiving an “outstanding” Ofsted rating in 2011 – a basic requirement for all National Teaching Schools.

Headteacher Kate Frood said: “I’ve been a head for a total of 16 years – this was a way I could stay in Camden, stay at the school I love and do more than just influence my school.

“I could have just thought, ‘I’ve only got eight years until my retirement’. But I felt a moral purpose to see how we can extend our influence.”

National Teaching Schools were established in 2011 with the aim of delivering the government’s vision to raise standards and improve the quality of teachers and school leadership through mentoring.

Under the plans, Eleanor Palmer will be working with neighbouring schools Torriano Junior, Kentish Town CofE, Thomas Coram Nursery and Holy Trinity, all deemed “outstanding” by Ofsted, in a consortium named the Camden Primary Partnership.

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Together they will conduct research into best practice, as well as providing support to other schools and training for teachers and student teachers.

“I think we are all clear about what good teaching looks like, so we need to show that what we do works,” said Ms Frood.

“The thing about being a teaching school is that we train teachers, we have selected and will train 10 student teachers – we are breeding our own Camden teachers.”

Alexandra Park School, a secondary in Bidwell Gardens, Muswell Hill, has been named Haringey’s first National Teaching School.

Similar to the Camden Primary Partnership, Alexandra Park will work in alliance with Woodside High, in Wood Green, and Fortismere School, in Muswell Hill.

Michael McKenzie, headteacher at Alexandra Park, said: “We now have the freedom and autonomy to work with Fortismere and Woodside schools to deliver high quality support for local teachers, support staff, managers and leaders at all stages in their careers. We very much look forward to the challenge and stimulation of contributing to the development of excellence in schools.”