The National College looks forward to leading a National Support Programme to encourage schools, local authorities and governing bodies to consider new models of leadership which will make the best use of our best school leaders. This will include an enhanced contribution to the School Improvement Partner (SIP) programme and the development of a new set of National Standards for School Leadership which will apply to all school leaders.
NCSL Chief Executive, Steve Munby, said:
"We currently have the best generation of school leaders we've ever seen and I welcome them being given more autonomy. Excellent teaching and learning have never been more important as we prepare the next generation for a world we don't fully recognise and where the future remains uncertain.
"But we shouldn't be despondent. Just as the medical profession has built its knowledge and expertise by sharing research practice and what works together, so we must help school leaders develop innovative methods of leadership to ensure no child is left behind."
In addition to its core role providing high quality training and development for school leaders, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has asked NCSL to develop the role of School Improvement Partners (SIPs) and enhance their training and accreditation.
NCSL will endeavour to align its work on SIPs with existing and planned work on system leadership and its new provision for serving and aspirant Directors of Children's Services (DCSs). In this way the College will ensure consistency and value for money across all of its programmes.
Steve Munby continued:
"Schools need to be confident in the quality of the support and challenge they receive from their SIP. NCSL will work with local authorities and heads and build on the work of the National Strategies to ensure SIPs with different skills and experience are deployed effectively in the schools where they are needed most."
From April 2011, NCSL will be responsible for:
- reviewing and developing the accreditation process for SIPs to take account of the expanded role;
- over time, the accreditation and re-accreditation of all SIPs (there are currently some 4,500 accredited SIPs throughout England);
- providing or commissioning CPD training and support for SIPs, including guidance on multi-agency working;
- undertaking quality assurance of SIPs and providing ongoing ‘licences to practise'; and
- a national register which shows which SIPs are best suited to work with particular types of school.
In order to harness the strengths of the best school leaders to drive up standards for all, NCSL will work with DCSF and other partners to develop an accreditation process for chains of schools to ensure their knowledge and expertise is fed back into the system.
To gain accredited status, new and existing education providers will be expected to have a strong track record in delivering high quality education outcomes along with excellent governance and leadership. Their capacity to support underperforming schools and drive change will also be critical factors in the accreditation process.
Acknowledging the importance of the profession leading the profession, the White Paper also identifies that schools leaders can learn from other schools, by observing other effective teachers. This is already happening throughout England and there are now around 300 National Leaders of Education (NLEs) - outstanding school leaders using their knowledge and experience to help schools in difficulty.
Summing up the effectiveness of the role, Steve Munby said:
"Their backgrounds and circumstances may differ, but what all NLE's have in common is a commitment to help and support struggling heads and staff and a determination that all children should succeed beyond traditional school boundaries. This will require them to work closely with others who bring schools together to share good practice and learn from each other."