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School to School Support


The teaching school model allows schools that have been designated as teaching schools to support leadership development and school improvement by working in partnership with other local schools. The government has shown a clear intent to allow schools to have greater freedom to shape, develop and share outstanding and successful practice, school to school, in order to raise standards of achievement.

System leadership is central to the overall vision of a self-improving system. System leaders have the experience and skills to work for the success of other children and adults as well as those in their own school. They collaborate with others to share and develop common solutions. They shape thinking, policy and practice in order to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives and life chances of children and young people.


National Leaders of Education, NLEs

NLEs are outstanding headteachers or principals who use their skills and experience to support other schools. NLEs own schools are outstanding, with consistently high levels of pupil performance. NLEs support schools in the most challenging circumstances. The focus of the NLE is to assist the supported school in making significant and sustained progress. Support could be provided by working alongside the existing headteacher or through consultancy support, with some staff from the National Support School (NSS). Four headteachers within the Alliance are NLEs.


  • Mrs L. George- Prince Bishops Community Primary School
  • Mrs L. Patterson- Etherley Lane Nursery School
  • Mrs F. Gowland- Our lady and St Thomas RC Primary School (Retiring August 2017)
  • Mrs A. Lupton- Crook Primary School


Local Leaders in Education, LLEs

Local Leaders of Education are serving headteachers or principals with at least 3 years of headship experience whose schools have good outcomes in attainment. LLEs work outside their own schools, providing support to another headteacher. The two headteachers work together to drive forward improvements. LLEs also provide support to new headteachers in their first two years of headship as part of the Head Start programme. Four Headteachers within the alliance are LLEs. To find out how to access the support of an LLE contact Joe Sonnenfeld.


  • Mr D. Brown- Ramshaw Primary School
  • Mrs S. Taylor- Burnopfield Primary
  • Mr S. Whelerton- Staindrop CE Primary School
  • Mr D. Eason- Fishburn Primary School


Specialist Leaders in Education SLEs

Specialist Leaders in Education are outstanding middle and senior leaders such as assistant headteachers, key stage leaders or subject leaders with at least two years of leadership experience. SLEs have an excellent knowledge in a particular area of expertise and a successful record of supporting other middle and senior leaders in other schools. The SLE focuses on developing leadership capacity so that other leaders develop the skills to lead their own teams more effectively. The Durham Teaching Schools Alliance has 15 SLEs from a wide range of County Durham schools. Access to these, and other, SLEs working in partnership with the Durham Teaching School Alliance can be arranged by contacting Joe Sonnenfeld.



Name School Specialist Area
Mrs E. Sturrock Ramshaw Primary School English
Mrs L. Cooper Sunnybrow Primary School Maths
Miss R. Stanhope Burnside Primary School Attendance
Mrs K. Costello Vane Road Primary School ICT
Mrs K.A. Lee Prince Bishops Primary School ITT
Mrs J. Crosby Ludworth Primary School EYFS
Mrs J. Madgwick Etherley Lane Nursery School EYFS
Mrs K.Lee Hartside Primary School Financial Management
Mr P. Robertson St Johns School and 6th Form College Modern Foreign Languages


Commissioning Brokerage and Deployment

At the heart of system leadership provision is the deployment of successful leaders to support other schools


Different organisations will commission support from SLEs, LLEs, NLEs, and NLGs and teaching schools.

The most likely commissioners include schools, academy chains and local authorities. A teaching school may commission support for a school within its alliance.

The commissioning body will usually fund the support


The broker for the support is effectively the matchmaker- a school, individual or organisation that matches an SLE, LLE, NLE or NLG to the supported school and negotiates how the support will work.

For each deployment the brokering process will involve:

  • Finding the right SLE,LLE, NLE or NLG to undertake the specific support
  • Agreeing the objectives and expected impact
  • Agreeing the support approach
  • Agreeing the time commitment and any financial terms


The SLE, LLE, NLE or NLG is deployed to support another school. The deployment could take different forms depending on the needs of the supported school.

Quality Assurance and Review

The broker is usually responsible for ensuring that any support is delivered to a high standard and for reviewing progress against agreed objectives. The National College is responsible for the review of LLEs, NLEs, NLGs. Teaching schools are responsible for the review of designation of SLEs.