Call for Ofsted to give leaders on new scheme time to transform schools


The schools inspectorate has been urged to give 100 leaders who will be taking on the headship of some of England’s most challenging schools sufficient time to turn them around.

Candidates are being sought to join the new scheme which will match talented school leaders with schools in deprived, rural or coastal areas.

The idea behind the Talented Leaders programme is to help those schools that often find it hard to attract great leaders.

The programme has been launched by the Department for Education and is to be managed by Future Leaders, a charity which has spent eight years developing and supporting school leaders to work in challenging schools. 

One hundred places are open on the programme and the aim is to have the first leaders going into schools in North Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Bradford and Blackpool from September 2015.

Schools are being invited to opt-in to the voluntary programme and further leaders will be recruited and appointed by September 2016.

Applications are being sought from “top-performing heads” or “outstanding aspiring heads” and those who are successful will be expected to work not just in their appointed school, but across the local area to help drive-up standards.

Successful applicants will receive help to relocate to the areas where they are needed and will be asked to commit to staying in the school for at least three years.

Deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Malcolm Trobe, has urged Ofsted to give these new headteachers the necessary time.

He said: “It will be important that arrangements are made with Ofsted so that these talented leaders are given time to improve the quality of education in their schools. 

“The inspection process needs to support and enhance the work of these school leaders and their staff, helping their schools to move forward confidently to be highly successful in all that they do.”

The scheme’s launch comes alongside a £13 million injection into the School-to-School Support Fund, aimed at enabling the network of National Leaders of Education (NLEs) to better support schools in challenging circumstances. 

The government is now aiming to have 1,400 NLEs working across the country by March 2016. There are currently around 950.

Launching the Talented Leaders programme, Heath Monk, CEO of Future Leaders, said: “Talented Leaders heads will join a nationwide network of exceptional school leaders, work together in local clusters and receive expert mentoring and on-going development. As a result, thousands of young people across England will receive more choice and more opportunities for a successful future.”

Schools minister David Laws added: “If you are a head or an aspiring head who already has a proven track record of raising standards and improving the education offered to all children and you think you have what it takes to make a real difference to a school in need of a great leader then we want to hear from you.”

For more details about the programme, visit, call 0800 009 4142 or email



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