10 Things You Didn’t Know About Middle Leaders

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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...
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What can we assume about some middle leaders working in schools?

I reflect on middle leadership in schools, one that was probably the most rewarding, yet frustrating periods of my teaching career. There is nothing better in my mind, supporting and challenging other middle leaders to work with colleagues, inspire students and raise standards to be even better. It is one aspect of my current role I relish.

There will be 1,000s of middle leaders embarking on their career in schools this term. I write to offer assumptions about some of the middle leaders we have all worked with. Some brilliant, some not so.

I write to provoke debate and offer personal reflection.

Whilst we should recognise that middle leadership is an opportunity to lead others, we should recognise that middle leaders still need our support and challenge to grow into their role.

Below are 10 things we can assume about those working in middle leadership.

  1. Some but not all, will maintain collegiality and work in-line with school policies.
  2. Some but not all, will take control of their professional development.
  3. Some but not all, will make great mentors for other staff.
  4. Some but not all, will contribute to the wider work of school life, others perhaps militant.
  5. Some but not all, will manage their workload and model excellent work-life balance.
  6. Some but not all, will have secured their position because there was nobody else for interview.
  7. Some but not all, will be brilliant at their job and consider senior leadership positions.
  8. Some but not all, will be passed their ‘sell by date’ and need to relinquish their responsibilities.
  9. Some but not all, will be subject experts, deliver dynamic curriculums and lead assessment in their area.
  10. Some but not all, will live and breathe the school values and work tirelessly with staff and students.

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“I’m just saying …”

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As an advocate of @TeachingLeaders and as part of their Leadership Faculty, why not consider taking part in one of their brilliant professional development programmes? If you are a middle leader and in need of support, contact me in confidence.

I only wish I could have blogged and used Twitter when I was a middle leader. It’s the perfect forum for connecting with colleagues outside of your organisation and for taking control of your professional development. Especially if you are not offered – or have limited options – within your current place of work.

Why not read other posts in the series?


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One thought on “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Middle Leaders

  1. Hi. There are some thought provoking moments within your series. Can I add a ‘some but not all..’ primarily relating to primary schools, many of which will have 7 or fewer teachers on staff? ‘Some but not all will become a subject leader immediately upon employment, often as an NQT, because that position must be filled.’ ‘Some but not all will have multiple subject and leadership responsibilities based on the necessity of filling those roles with no consideration of the experience, interest or expertise that they will bring to that role’. To equate this ‘middle leadership’ with either a department head in a large secondary or multiple from entry school seems frankly ridiculous.

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