Sigma has an extensive network of system leaders who are able to support and advise schools, contributing to the development of other leaders and raising standards for students. Our System leaders include National Leaders of Education (NLE), National Leaders of Governance (NLG), Local Leaders of Education (LLE), Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) and Local Specialist Teachers (LST).

All System leaders have gone through a strict assessment process to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and that they have a proven track record of successful working with other school professionals.

National Leaders of Education

NLEs are outstanding headteachers who work with schools in challenging circumstances to support school improvement. Because their support role will often include members of their own staff, the school of a national leader of education is called a national support school.

National Leaders of Governance

NLGs are highly effective chairs of governors who support chairs of governors in other schools. You should contact an NLG if you want to improve the leadership and performance of your school’s governing body.

Local Leaders of Education

LLEs are experienced headteachers who coach or mentor new headteachers or headteachers whose schools are in challenging circumstances. You should contact an LLE if you are a new headteacher, or an existing headteacher interested in a leadership coach.

Special Leaders of Education

SLEs are experienced middle or senior leaders with a specialism (for example, maths, initial teacher training, behaviour). While other roles (for example, advanced skills teachers) focused on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.

Local Specialist Teachers

LSTs are experienced teachers and middle leaders who can demonstrate a high level of impact from their own teaching. They may be interested in becoming an SLE however need to gain further experience in supporting other before they can do so.

Benefits for your School

The work of System Leaders:

  • Is rooted in current leadership practice and draws on real, relevant experience
  • Takes place within your school, with the SLE working alongside staff and taking into account demands on their time
  • Is flexible and bespoke, adapting to the particular needs of your school
  • Brings a fresh perspective to specific challenges or issues, as well as specialist knowledge and expertise
  • Is always seeking collaborative development
  • Helps to assure long-term, sustainable improvement
  • Can contribute to improving school performance overall, by providing a specific focus for development and implementing tangible goals that staff can really engage with
  • Uses a coaching model which is non-judgemental, whose aim is to support the on-going development of the school
  • Follows a clearly defined agreement based on the needs of the supported school put in place prior to the deployment

How to request SLE support

All SLE deployment will be brokered via the Teaching School.  It is anticipated that potential deployment will be foreseen in the whole school improvement plan, and that, where possible, SLEs will be used proactively in a developmental, strategic way.

SLE deployments can be requested using the Deployment Request Form available on the STSA website or by contacting Fritz Penn-Barwell directly at