Sunderland headteacher appointed a national leader

Paula Thompson.
Paula Thompson.

A Wearside headteacher has been appointed as a national leader of education.

Paula Thompson, headteacher at Benedict Biscop CE Academy, will take up the role, which involves supporting schools in challenging circumstances.

It is a huge privilege to be recognised nationally

Paula Thompson

She is one of around 80 heads to be appointed to the role of national leader of education (NLE) in the latest recruitment round.

NLEs, along with staff in their schools, which are designated as national support schools (NSS), use their success and professionalism to provide additional leadership capability in other schools.

The headteachers are deployed to suit the needs of each school needing support, this can be flexible and sometimes involve NLEs becoming executive headteachers.

They also have responsibility for developing the next generation of NLEs and national support schools.

Mrs Thompson, who is also the lead primary headteacher of the Prince Bishops Teaching School Alliance, said: “It is a huge privilege to be recognised nationally for the outstanding work we do in our school every day.

“Our staff are highly skilled and develop as future leaders from an early stage in their careers, ensuring they have the skills to develop our own school and also to support others.

“Through engaging in this national support programme, we are able to positively influence the lives of children beyond our school, by supporting other leadership teams to improve outcomes for them.

“It’s about everyone learning together in partnership.”

Many NLEs and NSSs report improved outcomes at the schools they support.

Roger Pope, chairman of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “It’s fantastic that heads like Paula have the passion and ambition to help improve the life chances of young people, not just in their own, but in other schools as well.

“The aim of national leaders of education is to drive improvement in underperforming schools.

“We now have over 1,200 NLEs and we’re working to increase this number further to spread educational excellence everywhere.”

Mrs Thompson has been invited to attend a formal induction and training event for the role in Manchester at the end of this month.