National Leaders of Education

This program harnesses the expertise of successful school principals within a local education system, and deploys it to raise leadership and teaching standards of all schools across the system. This creates a high-impact, low-cost and sustainable model of school improvement, with highly contextualized solutions drawn from the best of local practice
Print or PDF
Year launched: 
2016
Launch country: 

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
Primary Approach: 
Implementer: 
Education Development Trust
Education level (ISCED): 

Location Data

Geography type: 
Additional country(ies) of operation: 
Program Description: 

The National Leaders of Education program is based on evidence showing that the quality of school leadership is one of the most powerful determinants of teacher quality and student outcomes. High performing education are increasingly adopting ‘system leadership’ models to drive school improvement at scale, where the expertise of high performing leaders is harnessed to develop the capability of other schools.  This program contextualizes this methodology for low-income settings.

The program is based on the premise that there are outliers or ‘bright spots’ of excellent school leadership practice to be found in any local setting, which can be used to motivate others and be captured for use as highly contextualized local solutions. The program pairs leaders from high-performing schools in a local area with statistically similar but lower performing schools. The coaching and mentoring skills of these high-performing leaders, called ‘system leaders’, are developed through training and support. The paired leaders then agree on a measurable school improvement priority directly linked to improved teaching and learning outcomes. Paired leaders meet regularly for coaching and support for the school improvement target as well as to visit each other’s schools. This coaching relationship and ‘learning on the job’ enables rapid and sustained improved school outcomes to be achieved.

The ‘system leadership’ model has been piloted in low-cost private schools in Mumbai and Nairobi, which demonstrated statistically significant improvements in leadership competence of both the system and beneficiary leaders and improved teaching quality at the beneficiary schools. These pilots showed the mutual benefits of the program; with the system leader being more able to codify their effective practice and gaining career development whilst the beneficiary leader significantly improving their own leadership practice and their school performance.