10 Questions to Ask Every Middle-Leader by @TeacherToolkit

Reading time: 2
shutterstock Human resources, corporate hierarchy and multilevel marketing concept.


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

As a middle leader, how can you make sure you are ready for the start of the next academic year? Could you plan and use your time to its full potential before the end the summer period?

This is a blog for every middle leader working in schools. What can you tweak before the start of the new term?

With the academic year soon to draw to a close, if you are lucky enough to work in a school that gives teachers a little bit of ‘gain-time’ from examination classes, teachers will suddenly feel a breath of fresh air and suddenly realise that they have some time for planning, marking, peer-observations; perhaps even refining some departmental and pastoral projects …

During this term, I share the following questions so that middle leaders can consider the following for personal reflection;

Curriculum Reflection:

  1. Is your department fully staffed for the forthcoming year? Are all classes/teachers allocated?
  2. Is the timetable matched to the needs of the teachers, or the needs of the students?
  3. Are there any outstanding appointments/interviews to be complete? What is plan B?
  4. Have you reviewed your curriculum plans/offer for each year group/key stage?
  5. What schemes of work are currently being monitored, evaluated, reviewed? And by who?
  6. Can you use this time to complete triad-observations with colleagues in your department?
  7. How could you improve your own teaching? What needs refined?
  8. What leadership skills are on your personal development plan? Have you considered a 360-review?
  9. On the surface, how does your department appear? Time to update corridor displays?
  10. What do students say? Is this the time to gather student views about what is going well / even better if in your faculty?

Set Goals and Take Action:

Is it time to ‘dream big; set goals and take action?’

shutterstock Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action, concept, tags on the table.

Image: Shutterstock

Pastoral Reflection:

  1. Is your tutor team fully staffed for next year? Are you discussing plans with your Deputy Headteacher (Pastoral)?
  2. Do any students need to move tutor groups? If so, why? Who needs to know? And by when? Is it a last resort?
  3. What interventions are needed for your students moving up the school? What funding / support is required to facilitate this?
  4. The ethos of your year group: what values need revisiting, to re-align with the school’s vision?
  5. What were your parents evening attendance figures this year? What can you do to target the hard-to-reach?
  6. Do you have a student council? Yes. Well, let’s gather some more views and feedback to the staff / students. No! Well, there’s no time like today!
  7. Are you fully up to date with your own safeguarding procedures and latest guidance? Are your tutors?
  8. What year group celebrations do you have planned? What could be improved? How could you communicate more information and further afield?
  9. When last did you study the data from your year group? Have you looked at the data for: Gender? Ethnicity? Progress? Support? Achievement? Do you know ‘every’ child?
  10. And the parents: Have you met every single family? Or at least, have you have spoken to individual families on the phone?

There are plenty of tasks middle leaders could be doing at this time of year. Why not blog about it and ask for feedback; see my Life of a Deputy Headteacher which does just that …

*I will be speaking at TMEnfield on the topic of Middle Leadership, particularly ‘hidden leaders.’ Will you be attending?


@TeacherToolkit logo new book Vitruvian man

2 thoughts on “10 Questions to Ask Every Middle-Leader by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Some really useful questions here – thank you. We have just restructured and I am now a College leader – your final pastoral question resonated quite loudly! I am going to set Engagement Support Leader and myself the challenge of doing this by the end of term.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.