North East urged to capitalise on programme to recruit talented school leaders

The Government, along with the Future Leaders Trust, is aiming to recruit talented leaders to transform challenging schools in deprived areas

School pupils sitting their exams
School pupils sitting their exams

Some of the region’s most challenging schools may soon get new talented leaders to help turn them around.

The Talented Leaders programme, launched by schools minister David Laws, will aim to recruit exceptional school leaders and match them with schools in challenging circumstances – predominantly those in rural, coastal or deprived areas.

A new £13 million School-to-School Support Fund will also be announced to enhance the work of the Government’s existing National Leaders of Education network, to help schools facing the toughest challenges to improve.

The Talented Leaders programme will be made up of exceptional head teachers and outstanding deputy heads “who have a proven leadership track record” who will be deployed for a minimum of three years.

Regional director of The Future Leaders Trust (TFLT), which is running the Talented Leaders initiative on behalf of the Department for Education, is inviting applications from top-performing heads or aspiring heads who want to move to schools where their expertise can help raise attainment and narrow the achievement gap between poorer pupils and their peers.

Principal Bill Jordan of North Shore Academy on Norton Road, Stockton on Tees
Principal Bill Jordan of North Shore Academy on Norton Road, Stockton on Tees

TFLT regional director Bill Jordan said there are areas in the North East, predominantly around Newcastle and Northumberland, that have faced difficulties appointing the right head teachers.

“It’s the most important job in the world because it’s the future of our children at stake,” he said.

“Part of my role is to talk with academy chains, teaching schools and local authorities in the North East to see where there are needs.

“The programme is about getting headships where there are shortages of quality heads in secondary and primary schools.

“We’re offering a pool of talented school leaders who are prepared to move to certain areas.

“In doing this as they get a £50,000 fund to spend on training in the school and developing staff.

“It’s an absolute no-brainer. Why would a school facing difficulties not want to interview these potential heads against other candidates?

“It can only lead to improvement at some of the region’s most challenging schools.”

Heads will be expected to work not just with the school they move to, but with a network of schools to help drive up standards across the local area.

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire Schools Minister David Laws
Schools Minister David Laws

Schools minister David Laws said: “The importance of high-quality leadership in our schools cannot be overstated. We know there is a strong link between school leadership, quality of teaching, and outcomes for pupils.

“The initiative will ensure even more schools can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our very best school leaders, so that every child can reach their full potential.”

From September 2015, schools in North Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Bradford and Blackpool opting to take part in this programme will have the opportunity to appoint a great leader.

Additional areas will come on board in the coming months. Further leaders will be recruited and appointed by September 2016.

TFLT are now seeking applications from head teachers and aspiring heads from across the country.


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