National leaders of education (NLEs) are outstanding headteachers or principals who, together with the staff in their schools (designated national support schools (NSS)), use their skills and experience to support schools in challenging circumstances. In addition to leading their own schools, NLEs work to increase the leadership capacity of other schools to help raise standards.

National Leaders of Education (NLEs) are officially accredited and appointed as system leaders to both support and improve the quality of education and leadership in schools across the country.

NLE’s are serving headteachers who are all too aware of the pressures and direct challenges that many schools face today. They are also well placed to be able to help raise standards for children by providing the right support to schools and other education leaders, who may find themselves in unexpected but challenging circumstances.

As a result of the designation, our school essentially becomes a National Support School (NSS). This means that the entire staff can be called upon by the NLE at any time to support the specific requirements in other schools that match their areas of specialism and expertise.

In our school, this will involve our trained school-to-school support teachers, the senior leadership team, members of support staff and at times members of the premises team too.

Opening classrooms to other schools

The National College for Teaching and Leadership’s application process to become an NLE is thorough and detailed with strict criteria. Mrs Davis qualified by meeting the criteria and also through her experience as a Headteacher with 10 years of experience.

I received my NLE designation in December 2016 and attended the induction training in January 2017 but it hasn’t changed the way we work and operate in my current school. We have been a National Support School for five years as the previous headteacher was an NLE and the school was designated the role under her leadership.

We have a number of experienced teachers that are trained in school-to-school support and as such we have opened our classrooms to many colleagues from other schools who make visits to learn from good practice.

Making a difference to more children

Mrs Davis and the Trust Board are delighted with her designation, “There are many pros to the NLE scheme in my view, because through supporting others you also reflect on and improve you own practice in turn – because you are constantly evaluating your approach and processes. It is also very rewarding because you feel like you are making a real difference to more children than just those pupils in your own school.

The retention of experienced staff is also increased because they are consistently provided with new opportunities to challenge themselves and learn new news skills, such as supporting colleagues.”