If you are a headteacher and want to work with other schools to improve pupil outcomes, you might want to apply to be a local leader of education. In addition to leading your own school, you would have a coaching and mentoring role with a headteacher whose school is in challenging circumstances. The goal of the local leaders of education is to increase the leadership capacity of other schools to help raise standards. This is one part of the government’s plan to give schools a central role in developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system.

There are currently over 1,800 local leaders of education.


Who can apply

To become a local leader of education, you and your school need to meet the following criteria.


Criteria for headteachers

To be eligible to be a local leader of education, you must:

  • have at least 3 years of experience as a serving headteacher

  • have an Ofsted rating of good

  • expect to remain at your current school for at least 2 years after being selected

  • have accountability for one or more school(s) that meet the criteria below

  • have the support of your school’s governing body and local authority or a senior educational professional

  • demonstrate that you have sufficient experience providing support as a coach or mentor to another headteacher or senior member of staff at a school other than your own

  • commit to the time expectations


Criteria for the headteacher’s school

For you to be considered as a local leader of education, your current school must:

  • have an Ofsted rating of good

  • show consistently high levels of pupil performance or continued improvement over the last 3 years

  • be above current minimum standards set by the government

  • have experienced senior leaders with capacity to work with other schools

If you are applying as a sixth form college, you must be able to show evidence of supporting maintained schools in addition to any support provided to sixth form colleges.


Notes for independent school applicants

If your school is not inspected by Ofsted, it must be judged as good by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in the areas of:

  • leadership and management

  • quality of pupils’ achievements

  • pupils’ personal development

Alternatively, if the school is inspected by Ofsted, then the school must be judged good for overall effectiveness, capacity to improve and leadership and management or equivalent. Minimum standards are not applicable to independent schools. Independent schools will have to show consistently high levels of performance or continued improvement over the last 3 years.

Read the full eligibility criteria: Local leaders of education eligibility criteria (PDF, 115KB, 4 pages)



The application round is currently closed. Information on future application rounds will be posted here.

What a local leader of education does

The majority of the work of a local leader of education is one-to-one support of another headteacher.

Typical activities include:

  • negotiating objectives for improvement

  • coaching and mentoring the headteacher to develop skills, judgement and professional effectiveness

  • supporting or arranging coaching or training for staff in the supported school

Each placement is negotiated separately with the relevant local authority, teaching school, or other organisation.

Schools that are a priority for support are those where:

  • attainment is below the minimum standards

  • the school is considered to be vulnerable

  • a new, first-time headteacher has been appointed

Support must be focused on:

  • school improvement

  • the needs of the beneficiary organisation


Time commitment

Individual placements can vary by intensity and length, but there must be an agreed end point.

A placement could last from 6 months to 3 years. During that time, you could spend between half a day and 1 day a week working with the supported school. You can transfer some of the contracted days to other members of staff in your own school. For example, your deputy headteacher could be asked to work with the partner school’s deputy. You will be added to our school-to-school support directory, so that other leaders can contact you. If you are approached to support a new headteacher, you could be asked to provide up to 20 to 30 hours of one-to-one coaching and mentoring support during the new head’s first 2 years of headship.

You will be expected to support a headteacher and his or her school at least once over the course of a year.



Costs for the support of a local leader of education are funded by whoever is asking for your time (eg schools, local authorities, dioceses). Any funding will be paid to your school. It is up to your school’s governing body to decide whether you are rewarded financially for your work.

We provide the local leader of education induction, training and regional networking events at no cost.



For further information about local leaders of education, please email local.leaders@education.gsi.gov.uk or contact our help desk.


Teaching school and system leader helpdesk

Telephone 0800 085 0984

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, excluding UK bank holidays.