A headteacher at one of the area’s outstanding schools has been named a national leader of education.
Elizabeth Webster, of Aldingbourne Primary School, became one of just over 1,000 heads countrywide to receive the accolade, which saw her praised by Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education.
In addition, Aldingbourne Primary itself has been named a national support school (NSS).
Mrs Webster’s new role will mean that, as well as leading her own school, she and her staff will offer support to other schools, which have been identified as being in need of significant improvement.
The support could include anything from teaching and governance advice to helping make the most productive use of the school’s finances.
In a congratulatory letter, Mrs Morgan said Mrs Webster’s role was “testament to your exceptional leadership and your unwavering commitment to raising standards in our schools”.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) said the aim of the national leaders of education programme was to raise standard by increasing the leadership capacity of other schools.
Leaders such as Mrs Webster will be expected to help at least one school per year, which could involve supporting another headteacher for up to four days a week for two years or more.
A spokesman for NCTL said: “This is one part of the government’s plan to give schools a central role in developing a self-improving and sustainable school system.”
The goal is to have 1,400 leaders by 2016.
Mrs Webster said: “Being selected to be an NSS shows our hard work and commitment to teaching and learning. We hope to support schools locally and overseas to improve the quality and standards in education.”
While delighted to receive the honour and determined to rise to the challenge, Mrs Webster admitted: “I probably under-estimated the significance of it!
“They asked me to apply and I did but it wasn’t until I got the press stuff and the stuff from Nicky Morgan that I saw what we could do.”
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