A RIBBLE Valley headteacher has been selected for a top role supporting schools in challenging circumstances.

Stephen Cox, head of Ribblesdale High School in Clitheroe, has been appointed a National Leader of Education (NLE).

He is one more than 70 headteachers selected in the latest round.

The Queens Road school has also been designated a National Support School (NSS) which means the head and staff will use their success and professionalism to provide additional leadership to other schools.

Mr Cox said: “To be appointed to this role is indicative of the incredible staff we have at Ribblesdale and their commitment to ensure young people receive the very highest level of education.

“While there is a clear focus in this role on assisting schools in challenging circumstances, there is compelling evidence that this process also has huge benefits for the National Support School and its pupils and I am confident it will assist in Ribblesdale’s continued success.”

Jenny Woodward, chairman of the school’s governing body, said: “The governing body is delighted that the school has been selected as a NSS and that Stephen has been chosen as a NLE.

“We are committed in supporting both him and the school develop these roles.

“It will of course also be highly beneficial to current and future pupils to the school.”

NLEs are deployed to suit the needs of each school requiring support.

The type of support provided is flexible and can sometimes involve them becoming executive headteachers. They also have responsibility for developing the next generation of leaders.

Roger Pope, chairman of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “It is fantastic that headteachers like Stephen have the passion and ambition to help improve the life chances of young people, not just in their own but in other schools as well.

“The aim of national leaders of education is to drive improvement in underperforming schools.

“We now have more than 1,200 NLEs and we are working to increase this number further to spread educational excellence everywhere.” Successful headteachers have been invited to attend a formal induction and training event for the role in driving school improvement. Ribblesdale High School was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in 2015.