National role for local headteacher

A KNARESBOROUGH head teacher has been chosen for a key school support role.

Headteacher at Aspin Park Primary School, Nick Long has been selected for a top role supporting schools in challenging circumstances.

Mr Long is one of only 100 headteachers to be appointed to the role of National Leader of Education (NLE) and the school will now be designated a National Support School (NSS).

Previously Headteacher at Rawcliffe Infants School, and Haxby Road Primary School in York between 2000 and 2007, Mr Long was invited to the National College’s Learning and Conference Centre in Nottingham for a formal induction and training for the role in driving school improvement.

The aim of the role is to provide additional leadership capability in struggling schools or those in transition to federation or academy status. The flexible support system can involve the head becoming acting or executive headteacher of the client school or schools with responsibility for bringing on the next generation of NLEs and National Support Schools.

Mr Long said: “I am delighted to be taking on this role, it is not just an honour for me to be selected, but it is also a reflection of all the hard work and expertise of the staff at Aspin Park, as well as the school community in general, including parents, governors and last by no means least, the children, who have all been incredibly supportive of me in the past four years.

“I know from my experience in my three headships the pressures being a head teacher can bring, but what I have learned is that this is a job with a strong moral purpose and one that can’t be carried out successfully without really close teamwork. I have been lucky to work with and lead some very talented people along the way.”

The number of NLEs is set to double from 500 to 1,000 by 2014 following an announcement by the Education Secretary last year.

“I hope that I can bring an empathy to the work I am about to embark on with other schools, and offer them solutions to the difficulties they find themselves in,” Mr Long added.

Toby Salt, Deputy Chief Executive of the National College, said: “It’s great that heads like Nick are becoming NLEs, looking beyond their own school gates to help 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.”