A PROGRAMME designed to boost performance at low-achieving primary schools in Oxford has been hailed a success at the end of its first year.

The Leadership for Learning programme launched last January.

Now a report to Oxford City Council’s executive board has reported encouraging feedback.

The scheme saw 11 Oxford primary schools combine to work with educational leaders at Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University.

It was established after Oxford was identified as one of the worst-performing areas in the country for Key Stage One results in 2010.

Oxford City Council came forward with £300,000 to fund a three-year mentoring scheme.

Teachers taking part attend six public seminars with presentations from education experts on topics such as leadership and early intervention.

A year on, the director of the programme, Ian Menter, professor of teaching education at Oxford University, pictured left, heralded the scheme so far a success.

He said: “It is helping to improve schools. It is helping to grow a core of strong leaders in the schools.

“It is a well-established fact that the quality of leadership is the key element in improving the attainment in schools.”

He added: “Oxford University’s Department of Education and Oxford Brookes University’s School of Education are recognised UK leaders in teacher education.

“But we do not claim to provide a solution.

“We hope that through the programme, teachers and governors will be able to tap into a pool of expertise and support each other.

“We have put in place a structure that allows people to build their own solution together, learning from each other.

“There is a shared focus.

“The programme brings together people with a commitment to improve the quality of education in their schools.”

In the past year, 40 headteachers and senior teachers have taken part from Bayards Hill in Barton; Church Cowley St James, Cutteslowe, East Oxford; Larkrise, in East Oxford; Pegasus, Orchard Meadow and Windale (three schools forming the new Blackbird Leys Academy), St Francis in Cowley; St John Fisher in Littlemore; and Wood Farm.

Pat Kennedy, the city council's executive board member for education, said: “We're delighted with the first year of the leadership programme. Participants have really valued it.

“It has led to some real improvements in the schools involved, through the introduction of new processes such as use of video observation to help teachers improve teaching and learning, and sharing of best practice on promoting good behaviour.”