Team earn top support role

A HEADTEACHER and his staff are celebrating after being selected for a top school support role.

Neil Nottingham, head of Hartlepool’s Stranton Primary School, and his dedicated team of staff have been officially appointed as a National Support School.

And Mr Nottingham himself has been awarded the title of National Leader of Education (NLE) – one of just 95 headteachers in the country to be given such an accolade in the latest recruitment round.

The titles mean the staff and school, in Southburn Terrace, are officially qualified for the important task of helping other schools which find themselves in challenging circumstances.

Mr Nottingham told the Hartlepool Mail that this comes after several years of unofficially helping other schools.

He said: “I am delighted the hard work and efforts of all staff members at Stranton Primary School has been recognised with the designation of National Support School.

“Everybody works tirelessly to ensure children in Stranton Primary School and other schools across the town are able to achieve their very best and we will all endeavour to ensure this continues for many years to come.”

And Toby Salt, deputy chief executive of the National College, said: “It’s great that heads like Neil Nottingham 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.”

Mr Nottingham 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, providing additional leadership capability in struggling schools, or guiding those in transition to federation or academy status.

The school’s new status means that Mr Nottingham himself, or any member of his team, could be called upon to help staff at another school anywhere in the country for anything from a day, up to a few months, depending on its individual needs.

It could even see Mr Nottingham becoming acting or executive headteacher at a client school or even schools.

He will also have responsibility for bringing on the next generation of NLEs and National Support Schools, which have been proven to improve exam results both at the support school and the school getting the help.