AN outstanding Oldbury primary school and a Cradley Heath school are celebrating after being chosen to help train the next generation of teachers and heads.

St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary in Oldbury is one of only 200 schools in England to be given National Teaching School status this month by the National College of Training and Leadership (NCTL).

And in a double success headteacher Mary Simmons was selected as a National Leader of Education – she will use her knowledge and expertise to support struggling schools.

Corngreaves Primary School in Cradley Heath has also been chosen after stellar performances by staff and pupils.

There are now eight National Teaching Schools in Sandwell – one of the biggest groups in England.

St Francis will work with other schools on training and professional development opportunities, as well as nurturing potential headteachers.

It already works closely with St Gregory’s and St Philip’s primaries in Smethwick and St Hubert’s primary in Oldbury.

Mrs Simmons said: “We are looking forward to continuing to work with our partner schools with whom we have worked in partnership with for a number of years - St Gregory’s and St Philip’s in Smethwick and St Hubert’s Oldbury.”

Sandwell education lead Chris Ward said: "Education has improved dramatically in Sandwell over recent years and it is in part down to the fantastic effort and example of schools like St Francis Xavier."

Some 500 schools across England have been selected for national status since the scheme was launched three years ago. They are all rated “outstanding" by education watchdog Ofsted.

Charlie Taylor, NCTL chief executive, said: “St Francis Xavier should be very proud of their teaching school status.

“It recognises the school’s outstanding performance and its track record of raising standards through supporting other schools.

“There are now more than 500 designated teaching schools around the country with more to follow.

“In an increasingly school-led system, they are leading the way in training new teachers and helping existing teachers develop their skills - ensuring we’ll have the best people teaching our children for generations to come.”