Head selected for top job to support struggling schools

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THE HEADTEACHER of a school in Fareham has been selected for a top role supporting struggling schools.

Carolyn Clarke, of Harrison Primary, joins Catherine Hobbs of St John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary, in Portsmouth, to become the second headteacher across The News region to be designated a National Leader of Education (NLE).

This means Harrison Primary, rated as outstanding by Ofsted, is now an official National Support School which Hampshire County Council can turn to for help if other primaries are having difficulty.

Mrs Clarke said: ‘I am absolutely delighted our school has been recognised in this way.

‘This is not just about me - this is about all the teachers and staff at this school who are incredibly talented and dedicated.

‘Becoming an NLE not only means helping other schools that are having trouble but also consulting on national educational initiatives, which is very exciting.

‘I think now more than ever, when so many changes to education are under way, it is important for the practitioners - that is, the teachers - to have their say because they are the key to making sure schools succeed.’

National Leaders of Education can become acting or executive headteachers of struggling schools, or their teachers may go into those schools to offer advice and training.

Education secretary Michael Gove is a big fan of the scheme and last Autumn announced doubling the number of NLEs from 500 to 1,000 by 2015.

Mrs Clarke, who joined Harrison in 2000, is quick to rebuff critics who have said that NLEs are out of touch and have little to offer inner city schools because they are predominantly from privileged areas.

She said: ‘At Harrison we have children from both ends of the scale of deprivation and I can assure you we are not out of touch. If you look at a school that’s doing brilliantly and looks perfect from the oustide it is easy to assume that school has never had to fight any battles.

‘But the truth is we have had to fight our battles. It is my firm belief is that every single child in this country is entitled to the best education.’