System Leaders

System Leaders


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 experiencing particular challenges or difficulties. In addition to leading their own schools, NLEs work to increase the leadership capacity of other schools to help raise standards.

Local Leaders of Education (LLEs) are successful headteachers with a proven track record of supporting other schools, and with the capacity to work alongside other heads to drive forward improvements and build capacity to ensure that improvements can be sustained.

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are outstanding middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools.  They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of expertise looks like and are skilled in helping other leaders to achieve it in their own context.

Coventry Leaders of Education (CLEs) are good middle and senior leaders within schools who have developed specialist expertise. They have the skills and qualities to work effectively with other schools and are committed to making a difference.

Key questions for key stakeholders, including governors of schools that are, or are considering, receiving support from a National Leader of Education/National Support School:

What difference will seeking help from an NLE / LLE make?

NLEs, LLEs and NSS staff are experienced in working with schools in challenging circumstances to help them raise attainment and deal with specific challenges. NLEs, LLEs and NSSs have been designated following a rigorous assessment process (and only retain designations if they meet the review of designation criteria). They have a proven record in improving attainment by supporting leadership capacity. This is an excellent resource to help schools become even better.

 Research undertaken shows that:  

  • Primary schools supported by NLEs improve their results by 3.1 per cent on average more in the first year, following the start of support, and by 2.2 per cent more in the second year, following the start of support, than schools not supported by NLEs or LLEs.
  • Secondary schools supported by NLEs improve their results by 2.5 per cent on average more in the first year, following the start of support, and by 1.3 per cent more in the second year, following the start of support, than schools not supported by NLEs or LLEs. 

What help can we receive from a National Leader of Education/ National Support School/ Local Leader of Education?

NLEs/LLEs meet with the headteacher and senior staff from a school requesting support to discuss the challenges faced by the school and what help is needed. The actual help provided will be tailored in partnership with the school being supported to deliver activities that will make the most difference to the school. 

Support can typically involve: 

  • An NLE working alongside staff from their National Support School and / or SLEs to help a school.
  • An LLE working with SLEs or other specialist staff to help a school.
  • An NLE/ LLE working without their staff to help a school.
  • National Support School staff providing support under the initial direction of the National Leader of Education (who may not themselves be involved in the delivery of support) to help a school.
  • A National Leader of Education working alongside a national leader of governance to support governance and leadership of a school.

How much will support from a National Leader of Education/ LLE/ SLE cost?

NLE  £550 per day 
LLE £450 per day 
SLE £350 per day 
CLE/Other £250 per day 

The total cost of support will be negotiated with the school receiving support, or the body providing funding for the deployment (if the school receiving support is not paying for it).

NLEs / LLEs / SLEs do not provide support in order to make profit: they will seek to cover the costs of support.

How long can my school receive support for? 

This is a matter of negotiation depending on the needs of the school seeking support. However, each period of support must have an agreed end date (which can be reviewed if needed).

It is not uncommon for NLE/NSS deployments to involve up to three-four days of support per week for two years or more, although there is an expectation that progress and improvements will be evidenced throughout the deployment.

Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement

The National College is responsible for assuring the quality of work undertaken by National Leaders of Education (NLEs) and National Support Schools (NSSs) through evaluation and feedback.

The outcomes and impact of each deployment is evaluated by the NLE/NSS and the supported school. Samples of deployments are selected for review by the National College. Organisations involved in a deployment are interviewed and a report is produced and shared with interviewees.

How do I find NLE/NSS/LLEs support for my school?

You can find NLEs in your area by using the school-to-school support directory of the National College for Teaching and Leadership,  or can seek help with identifying an NLE/LLE/SLE to support you from a teaching school, local authority or diocese.

Access to an NLE/ LLE/ SLE can either be

 a)       Self- identified and through direct contact with the teaching school


b)       Through the  LA SIB process 

Castle Phoenix Teaching School Alliance  

Contact: Carol Green - Teaching School Project Manager


Tel: 024 7644 4822

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