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 or equivalent, 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.

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.

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.
  • 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?

Costs have been agreed locally and can be found on page 3 of the Coventry System Leader Brochure.

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

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.

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 Harris – Teaching School Project Manager 


Tel: 024 7644 4822