This is a blog about developing middle leaders to become future senior leaders.
I have previously written, that Hidden Leaders exist within every school.
During the years that I’ve been a senior leader, prior to this time I wished I had worked in a school where there was an opportunity for me to shadow the senior teachers I worked with during my middle leadership. Unfortunately, this never happened … and I left to grasp the opportunity first hand. I would have quite happily stayed in the school where I was working at the time.
In my first role as a senior leader, the school I worked in managed to create a (SSLT) Shadow Senior Leadership Team. The members of staff had to apply for the process and had the chance to take part in leading school strategy. This had some success to a degree because it empowered the member of staff to lead a whole school project with an assigned member of the leadership team; but the programme did not give that member of staff a full experience of what ‘living life as a senior leader’ is like …
In my last school we talked about it often, but it sadly never happened, and there were a number of middle leaders definitely ready for the experience.
Shadow Senior Leadership Programme:
On arrival to my new school, I was delighted to see that I was inheriting a shadow senior leadership team programme that was already in place. During the course of my six months in post, I’ve slowly unpicked what is working well and what is not. Every member of staff who is part of our shadow leadership team, is currently taking part in the NPQSL CPD programme via the Institute of Education. This is an investment by the school and a commitment made to that member of staff. The teachers currently on the programme attend our leadership briefings in the morning, they attend our senior leadership team meetings on a rota; and they have a walkie-talkie and are partial to all confidential (radio) discussions; and they also pick up leadership duties.
I know this experience it is not perfect, but it is happening and staff do benefit from ‘some’ of the CPD on offer. Every half term, I have managed to arrange ad-hoc CPD training sessions for them as a small group. This needs significant improvement for it to be of value and to also become a greater CPD opportunity in the future; it also must benefit the school at large. There is an expectation that our SSLT can take control of a whole school strategy and lead whole staff CPD at some point in the year.
As part of the CPD menu I would like to offer all staff in 2015/16, I would like to tweak this shadow leadership programme in preparation for the new academic year. What you see below my current draft proposals – and they are not perfect or complete – and I’m sharing it here for your feedback.
I would really appreciate it if you could contact me and let me know if there is anything missing at this stage. Remember, this is stage 1 of trying to put thought onto paper. Over time, I plan to have an application process that is transparent and structured; with calendared CPD opportunities in and out of school. This may result in a useful document/brochure that is informative; sharing case studies of success and advice from teachers gone by …
We are committed to developing succession leadership in line with school priorities, supporting all members of staff towards reaching their own professional goals. This CPD role is offered to teachers currently working as middle leaders and is offered for one academic year in the first instance. The SSLT post is designed to support members of staff who are completing the National Professional Qualification of Senior Leadership (NPQSL) alongside our own QK leadership programme; the intention is that teachers will be in a position to apply for senior leadership within QK or externally in the near future.
Please email me here with your thoughts.