BUS tours which helped showcase Keighley schools to trainee teachers two years ago have returned to the Bradford district.

The initiative is aimed at highlighting to trainees the personal and professional benefits of working in the area when they qualify.

Bradford is believed to be the only district in the UK providing the special tours.

Participants in the latest round of visits will call at a wide range of sites, from a secondary school recently named national School of the Year to schools at various stages of improvement.

“The initiative is a crucial part of our strategy to recruit and retain the best teachers into Bradford,” said Christian Bunting, director of the Bradford Birth to 19 Teaching School Alliance.

“Like many cities and their districts, we face a significant challenge to get the number and quality of teachers we need into our classrooms.

“This scheme is about dispelling some of the myths surrounding Bradford and giving the trainee teachers an insight into what it’s like to work in different types of schools across the district, so that when they graduate they can make more-informed decisions about their future.

“Bradford district has many great schools, which are professionally rewarding places to build your career as a teacher.”

Groups of trainees from universities in Leeds visited secondary schools in the district last month.

A second cohort toured a selection of primary schools earlier this month and further visits are due to take place next month and in March.

The trips are part of a series of district-wide initiatives funded through the Government’s Opportunity Areas programme, which the alliance says has helped to retain more teachers and significantly narrow the gap between the number recruited and the total required.

In the 2016-17 academic year, 360 final-year trainee teachers from across Yorkshire took part in the tours, and another 400 followed that.

After qualifying, they were asked if they wanted to become part of a ‘talent bank’ of teachers that can be used to fill vacancies in district schools.

Of the 360 who took part in the initial tours, whose host locations included Beechcliffe Special School in Keighley, a quarter subsequently found jobs in Bradford district after going through the talent bank.

The bus tours were followed by workshops at which candidates were given advice about applying for jobs, writing personal statements and preparing for their job interviews.