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10 September 2014, 12:01
It's been announced Suffolk is joining a new national programme, which is designed to bring the best head teachers into its schools.
The Talented Leaders programme, which is funded by central government and led by the Future Leaders Trust, will recruit and train 100 exceptional head teachers which schools can interview and, if they want to, employ.
The programme is looking for top-performing heads or outstanding aspiring ones who want to move to schools where their expertise can help raise attainment and narrow the achievement gap between poorer pupils and their peers. It aims to recruit the inspirational school leaders and match them with schools that are facing some of the toughest challenges - predominantly those in rural, coastal or deprived areas that are finding it difficult to attract a high performing head teacher.
The move will boost Suffolk's existing head teacher recruitment drives and sit alongside efforts to develop home-grown talent.
Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for education and skills, said: "An exceptional and forward-thinking head teacher can have a hugely powerful impact on a school and the quality of education it provides to children. That's why Suffolk has signed up to the Talented Leaders programme. We want to make sure Suffolk schools have access to the best and brightest leaders to help in our collective efforts to improved educational attainment.
"Schools across Suffolk are working together, and with the county council, to drive up standards. That is the direction we set with our Raising the Bar programme and is what education professionals across the county are united around."
Heads will be expected to work with the school they move to as well as a network of schools to help drive up standards across the area.
Speaking at the launch of the Talented Leaders programme event in London today, schools minister David Laws MP said: "The importance of high-quality leadership in our schools cannot be overstated. We know there is a strong link between school leadership, quality of teaching, and outcomes for pupils. The Talented Leaders programme will spread the excellence and expertise of some of our brilliant school leaders.
"If you are a head or an aspiring head who already has a proven track record of raising standards and improving the education offered to all children and you think you have what it takes to make a real difference to a school in need of a great leader then we want to hear from you.
"The initiative will ensure even more schools can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our very best school leaders, so that every child can reach their full potential."
Heath Monk, CEO of The Future Leaders Trust, said: "Great head teachers make great schools, but finding great heads is much harder in some areas in England. The Talented Leaders programme will give 100 exceptional people the support they need to help their students succeed.
"We have eight years of experience in developing effective and inspiring leaders able to transform the schools that need it most. Working together, we will help them make an immediate positive impact and to begin long-term, sustainable improvement.
"Talented Leaders heads will join a nationwide network of exceptional school leaders, work together in local clusters and receive expert mentoring and on-going development. As a result, thousands of young people across England will receive more choice and more opportunities for a successful future."
Recruitment starts today (10 September) with the first selection of teachers starting from September 2015. More leaders will then be recruited and appointed by September 2016.
Applicants who pass the recruitment process will receive help to move and the necessary professional support to turn their school around. They will also have to commit to staying in the school for at least three years.