The headteachers and staff at Ludlow Infant and Harefield Primary Schools in Southampton have been selected for top roles supporting schools in challenging circumstances.
Jeannie Gibbons of Ludlow Infant School and Gary Hampton of Harefield Primary School are among only 95 headteachers to be appointed to the role of National Leader of Education (NLE) in the latest recruitment round.
They will now be invited to the National College for School Leadership’s Learning and Conference Centre in Nottingham in April for a formal induction and training for the role in driving school improvement.
This means that Southampton now boasts eight headteachers who are recognised as National Leaders. National Leaders are outstanding headteachers or principals who, together with their staff, use their skills and experience to support other schools to help raise standards. Their schools become National Support Schools, which means they draw on their own strengths to support improvement elsewhere.
The type of support provided is flexible and can involve NLEs becoming acting or executive headteacher of the client school (or schools). They also have responsibility for bringing through the next generation of NLEs and National Support Schools.
Jeannie Gibbons, head at Ludlow Infant School, said: “Being selected as a National Leader in Education and National Support School is a real honour me and for my whole team. We take our role as public servants very seriously and are thrilled for the community we serve that our school has been recognised in this way.
“Also, as someone who grew up in Southampton, it is very special to me that I've been able to make a positive contribution to my home city.”
Gary Hampton, head at Harefield Primary School, said: “Our staff have developed real talents as we have continued to demonstrate that we understand what makes a successful school.
“We will all learn and gain hugely from sharing our strengths and experience with other schools.
“This accreditation is an investment in the children of the city - our future."
Many in the National Leaders of Education / National Support Schools scheme see improvements in exam results at both the support and client schools, with progress achieved in excess of national improvements.
Cllr Jeremy Moulton, Southampton City Council’s cabinet member for Children’s Services and Learning, said: “We were already very fortunate to have four times the national average number of National Leaders in the city. Now with the news of Jeannie and Gary’s appointments Southampton’s school community is set to strengthen even further.
“I congratulate both heads on being selected for these important roles and wish them every success.”
Clive Webster, Director of Children’s Services, said: “Jeannie and Gary typify all that's going so much better in Southampton. Like all our growing number of headteachers with this national status, they are fantastic leaders who bring together great teams of staff and governors to achieve great things for children, parents and communities. We have every reason to be very proud.”
Find out more about education in Southampton at our Learning pages.