SCHOOLS within Blackburn and Darwen are to join forces to improve education.

As more schools become academies or free schools, it is hoped a new league of schools will help headteachers work together.

The scheme has been launched by Blackburn with Darwen Council which hopes schools will share best practice with each other and inform council policy.

It is also hoped it will help in making overarching education decisions for the area together with representatives from both primary and high school sectors and the local authority.

The new league will comprise a primary partnership group led by Alison Taylor, headteacher of Blackburn The Redeemer CofE.

Secondary teachers are to be included through the Education Improvement Partnership led by Des Callaghan, headteacher of St Bede’s High School, along with local authority representatives. The council’s cabinet member for schools Dave Harling said the league would work through a cascade effect, where schools spoke through a representative even if they did not attend meetings.

He said: “It’s a little bit like the way the council cannot speak to every resident but residents can access them through their representative councillor.

“This gives schools a way to access the council and make sure planning for education and issues in the area takes their concerns into account.”

The new schools forum will agree a set of priority areas of business for the council to focus on.

After developing proposals and options for each of the priority areas, the forum will consider whether any infrastructure is needed.

Meetings for primary and secondary school issues will be separate but with some joint meetings where issues affect both sectors.

It is expected to include meetings of primary and secondary headteacher representatives with Coun Harling and the most senior officers within the council, including the Chief Executive and the Executive Director for People and senior officers from Children’s Services.