System leaders

System leaders are people who work with schools outside of their own to bring about improvement. The schools could be under-performing or have a specific issue and require additional support. schools can choose to have a central role in developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system. Growing the number of system leaders is one way they intend to reach this goal.

Each system leader would be commissioned and/or deployed by The Local Authority, Teaching School Hubs, Academy Trusts or Diocese’.

System leaders:

  • Have a min. of 3 years experience of improving a school at headship level
  • Are supportive of their peers but are not afraid to challenge
  • Are happy in the role of LIO or task group chair

The LA will support System Leaders:

  • With CPD through Warwickshire Primary Partnership
  • Through access to key information and data about the school they are supporting
  • by being available to offer advice and guidance

System Leadership within Warwickshire

The DFE document Schools Causing Concern September 2020 is clear on the Role of the Local Authority. Their role is to have the overview of the performance of all schools in the Local Authority and ensure all Warwickshire children are educated in a good or better school. In understanding the performance of schools they can then work with partners to ensure appropriate and targeted support is in place and will have impact.

Beyond this statutory guidance, local authorities have considerable freedom as to how they deliver their statutory responsibilities. Local authorities should act as champions of high standards of education across their schools, and in doing so should:

  • Understand the performance of maintained schools in their area, using data as a starting point to identify any that are underperforming, while working with them to explore ways to support progress.
  • Work closely with the relevant RSC, diocese and other local partners to ensure schools receive the support they need to improve.
  • Where underperformance has been recognised in a maintained school, proactively work with the relevant RSC, combining local and regional expertise to ensure the right approach, including sending warning notices and using intervention powers where this will improve leadership and standards; and
  • Encourage good and outstanding maintained schools to take responsibility for their own improvement; support other schools; and enable other schools to access the support they need to improve.

Schools causing concern Sept 2020

Given that schools may not have any firm performance related data since 2019, it is timely that the LA was in the process of reorganising how they have that overview of schools and which schools would benefit from support and intervention. This process was previously known as categorisation. Now, the emphasis is to be more on collaboration and looking at that broader evidence base. This will enable leaders, governors and the LA to reach an evidence based risk assessment on whether the school is likely to have:

  • Good outcomes for all children, based on a range of criteria;
  • In 2021 until full section 8 inspections resume: leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action to provide education in the current circumstances.
  • A judgement of good or better at their next inspection.

Maintained Schools who are risk assessed as not achieving the above points will then be entitled to a range of support from their consortia, the LA and external partners such as Finance, HR, Governor Services and School Improvement Professionals.

As Warwickshire has a moral obligation to ensure all of our children are entitled to a good or better education, Academies who are risk assessed as not achieving the above points will then be raised with the RSC.

It is anticipated that core groups will be formed based on localities. These will include;

  • The Head and Chair of Governors
  • Colleagues from the consortia

National Leaders of Education (NLEs)

NLEs will usually work with schools identified as being in need of significant improvement by the Department for Education, a teaching school, local authority or diocese.

When a headteacher is selected as an NLE, their school will receive National Support School (NSS) status. This is to recognise that staff will often work alongside the headteacher in any support that they provide to under-performing schools and will also have the chance to develop their skills and gain valuable experience. NLEs will have access to wider networks of NLEs, teaching schools and other individuals and schools offering school-to-school support.

NLEs in Warwickshire You can find NLEs in Warwickshire on the School-to-school Support Directory on the National College for Teaching & Leadership website.

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)

Experienced middle or senior leaders who are interested in supporting leaders in other schools, can become accredited as Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE).

SLEs focus on developing the capacity and capability of other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools. They will often be commissioned in the same way as NLE’s but perform more specialist reviews and interventions.