Support for future school leaders and development opportunities for talented teachers were on the agenda as School Standards Minister Nick Gibb visited Greater Manchester for the launch of a government funded programme to help schools in areas of greatest need.The Schools Minister attended All Saints Catholic College in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, for the formal launch of Teach First’s two-year ‘Leading Together’ programme – which is funded through the Department for Education’s £75 million Teaching & Leadership Innovation Fund.The announcement is part of the government’s drive to support teachers’ development and attract the best and brightest recruits into the teaching profession.Following the launch, the Schools Minister took part in a roundtable discussion on the benefits of leadership opportunities in schools with local headteachers and Russell Hobby, Chief Executive of Teach First.Thanks to a hardworking and incredibly talented generation of teachers, alongside the government’s bold reforms, there are now 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: Teach First’s programme is designed to offer staff at schools in areas of disadvantage the skills and support they need to succeed and deliver improvements for pupils’ education – at no cost to the school.Teach First CEO Russell Hobby said: There are now a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010 – but we want to build on this and help schools attract and keep the best and brightest people working in our schools. Last week the Education Secretary announced a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers, working with the unions and professional bodies, and we’ve been consulting on how to improve development opportunities for teachers, whether they decide to move into a leadership role or want to continue teaching in the classroom. This programme from Teach First is one of thousands of new training opportunities that we have created through our £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund, supporting schools in the areas of greatest need to help nurture the leaders of tomorrow. It was a pleasure to hear school leaders speak so enthusiastically about our plans to raise the status of the teaching profession. These measures will be boosted by the Education Secretary’s recent announcement of a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers, working with the unions and professional bodies. The programme was among those earmarked last year to receive a share of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund. These projects will help provide tailored training opportunities for teachers on both managing challenging pupil behaviour and developing leadership, so they can make the most of their talent in the classroom.Today’s ministerial visit follows the recent confirmation of a number of other government measures to improve development opportunities for great teachers, whether they decide to move into a leadership role or want to continue teaching in the classroom. These include: The commitment to invest £42 million in a Teacher Development Premium pilot to enable teachers and leaders working in areas of greatest need to access high quality professional development, and drive school improvement; and The introduction of the new, strengthened national professional qualifications, as well as a £10 million fund to support teachers in the areas that need it most. I’m pleased that we launched the Leading Together programme with the Schools Minister at All Saints Catholic College today. We heard from headteachers at the event about the importance of effective leadership for good schools. Too often schools in disadvantaged areas miss out on the support they need to build their leadership teams. Thanks to generous support from the Department for Education we’re working in partnership with exactly these schools to help them succeed.