Fiona Rigby is one of more than seventy Headteachers to be appointed to the role of National Leader of Education in the latest recruitment round. She and staff at St Catherine’s Catholic Academy, Sheffield, have been selected for a top role supporting schools in challenging circumstances.

National leaders of education, along with staff in their school – designated a National Support School – use their success and professionalism to provide additional leadership capability in other schools.

National Leaders of Education are deployed to suit the needs of each school needing support. The type of support provided is flexible and can sometimes involve National Leaders of Education becoming Executive Headteachers.  They also have responsibility for developing the next generation of National Leader of Education and National Support Schools.

Fiona Rigby said, “St Catherine’s has a long history of supporting other schools both within the Diocese of Hallam and within Sheffield. Support involves members of staff at all levels.  Our school community has grown from strength to strength as a result of the process of supporting others.  In each situation we find that we learn something new and grow as a result.  Staff are confident in supporting other schools and their expertise and passion for education ensures that the work they do is successful and rewarding.”

Many National Leaders of Education/National Support Schools report improved outcomes at the schools they support.

Roger Pope, Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said, “It’s fantastic that heads like Fiona Rigby 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 National Leaders of Education and we’re working to increase this number further to spread educational excellence everywhere.”

Successful Heads have been invited to attend a formal induction and training event for the role in driving school improvement.