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News Stories

Southampton City Council Press Releases

Two more Southampton heads chosen as National Leaders in Education

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’s Learning and Conference Centre in Nottingham in April for a formal induction and training for the role in driving school improvement.

This news 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.

In addition to NLEs Southampton also boasts 11 Local Leaders of Education. These are successful headteachers who offer coaching and mentoring to head teachers and staff at other schools in the city.
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 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.

The number of NLEs is set to almost double to 1,000 by 2014.

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.”

Toby Salt, Deputy Chief Executive of the National College, said: “It’s great that heads like Jeannie and Gary are becoming NLEs, looking beyond their own school gates to help more and more pupils get the best start in life. This scheme is about the best school leaders helping the rest and the results speak for themselves with benefits for both the schools and academies being supported and those providing the support.

“School-to-school support is having a growing impact across the education system and this is thanks to the hard work and dedication of all those involved. Helping other school leaders in this way is admirable and something I’d encourage other heads to consider.”


Notes to editors:

Southampton’s National Leaders in Education / National Support Schools are:

Penny Orme - Townhill Infant School
Sally Stanton - Kanes Hill Primary School
Llyn Codling - Portswood Primary School
Gerida Montague-Munson - Holy Family Catholic Primary
Jeannie Gibbons - Ludlow Infant School
Jackie Partridge - Springwell School
Gary Hampton - Harefield Primary School
Susan Trigger - Bitterne Park School

• Primary schools supported by NLEs/NSS between 2008 and 2010 improved their KS2 results by over 7% while the results of those who had not been involved remained stable.

• For secondary schools supported by NLEs/NSSs between 2008 and 2010, the rate of improvement in the percentage achieving five or more A*-C grade GCSEs (including English and maths) was almost twice that compared to those who had not had this support.

• Of all the schools that came out of special measures [during 2009/10], 24% had been assisted by an NLE (Annual report, Ofsted 2009/10)

For media enquiries about education in Southampton, contact Damian Cook on 023 8083 2001 or email

For more information about the National College or the NLE/NSS scheme, contact Richard Earle on 07776 494545, email or

Link: Learning in Southampton

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