National Professional Qualification
for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

For school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities.

Learn the Key Concepts Underpinning Successful Senior Leadership

Awards 30 Master's Credits

Develop a Culture in Which Staff and Pupils Are Able to Thrive

Remote Online Delivery to International Schools


The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) is accredited by the UK Department for Education (DfE). The qualification is delivered by the Outstanding Leaders Partnership, the leading provider of UK accredited qualifications for education professionals worldwide.

Outstanding Leaders Partnership was recently rated ‘Exceptional’ by the DfE’s quality assurance agent and voted ‘Company of the Year’ at the BETT Awards. We are the market leader, and to date have supported over 500 candidates from 60+ countries to access and complete an NPQ.

National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Senior Leadership

NPQSL gives candidates all of the essential knowledge, skills and concepts that underpin successful senior leadership with candidates learning how to:

  • Contribute to establishing and sustaining the school’s strategic direction
  • Contribute to establishing and sustaining an effective culture across the school
  • Establish and sustain effective planning and preparation across the school
  • Ensure teaching across the school stimulates pupil thinking and understanding
  • View the NPQSL Framework tab for the full programme content

What are the benefits?

In recent years, Outstanding Leaders Partnership has grown into a nationwide network of 165 schools, multi-school organisations, dioceses and university partners.  The extensive expertise and diversity of our partner network allows us to develop rich, phase-specific, programme content which is delivered and facilitated by local experts in local schools.

  • Facilitation and support from serving school leaders in outstanding schools
  • Purpose-built virtual learning environment enabled for mobiles and tablets
  • Delivery at local venues
  • Guaranteed support to pass the final assessment
  • Content contextualised for your locality and updated to reflect national developments and legislation
  • Regular progress updates for mentors and headteachers

National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for International Schools

Outstanding Leaders Partnership began delivering National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) to international schools in 2018. Since then, thousands of international schools colleagues have completed our prestigious qualifications, helping them to become more effective school leaders.

The majority of our international NPQ candidates complete the qualifications through our remote online delivery model where the face-to-face elements are delivered via interactive facilitated webinars. International face-to-face NPQ delivery is also available, please contact us for your nearest group. If you would like to host NPQs in your school or schools group then please visit our partnerships page.

Remote Online Delivery for International Schools

For colleagues working in international schools, we are able to deliver the National Professional Qualification for Leading Teaching (NPQLT) entirely online.

Participants access the qualification resources through our award winning Virtual Learning Environment, Canvas, where they engage with international schools colleagues from around the world to discuss the resources and collaborate to complete the various tasks.

NPQLT candidates will attend 3 face-to-face events if they choose to complete the programme via the blended delivery model. Our international delivery network allows us to bring face-to-face training to a school near you and facilitated by local school leaders (please contact us for international locations).

Candidates access online learning and support via our virtual learning environment (VLE) Canvas. Through Canvas, candidates are able to engage with their peers, access multimedia content and submit work for assessment.

Delivery Outline

Who is this for?

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) is for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities.

The role of a senior leader within a school is complex. Although the role varies, many senior leaders contribute to all aspects of the school through the leadership team as well as having a specific whole school responsibility of their own. This means the role is often both operational and strategic and relies on working with and through colleagues (in particular, through middle leaders) to ensure every pupil gets an excellent education.


Applicants must have completed 2 full years of teaching following achieving QTS/QTLS/Level 5 (or equivalent) qualification .

All applicants must have either QTS, QTLS, a Level 5 (or higher) qualification (any subject), or an international equivalent.

If you do not have QTS or QTLS, you will need to have completed a Level 5 qualification (any subject).

What does it cost?

NPQSL International costs £1550 plus VAT where applicable. VAT is chargeable on courses funded by private individuals.

National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Senior Leadership Framework

In collaboration with an Expert Advisory Group, the Department for Education consulted extensively with the sector to design the reformed suite of NPQs. This has included invaluable input from teachers, school and trust leaders, academics and experts.

The frameworks set out two types of content. Within each area, key evidence statements (“Learn that…”) have been drawn from current high-quality evidence from the UK and overseas. This evidence includes high-quality reviews and syntheses, including metaanalyses and rigorous individual studies. In addition, the NPQ frameworks provide practical guidance on the skills that teachers and school/trust leaders should be supported to develop. Practice statements (“Learn how to…”) draw on both the best available educational research and on additional guidance from the Expert Advisory Group and other sector representatives.

The Education Endowment Foundation has independently reviewed the frameworks to ensure they draw on the best available evidence and that this evidence has been interpreted with fidelity. The NPQ frameworks will be kept under review as the evidence base evolves. As in any profession, the evidence base is not static and research insights develop and progress.

School Culture
Learn that… Learn how to…
1. High-quality teaching has a long-term positive effect on
pupils’ life chances, particularly for children from
disadvantaged backgrounds.
2. Teacher expectations can affect pupil outcomes; setting
goals that challenge and stretch pupils is essential.
3. Setting clear expectations can help communicate shared
values that improve classroom and school culture.
4. Teachers have the ability to affect and improve the
wellbeing, motivation and behaviour of their pupils.
5. Teachers are key role models, who can influence the
attitudes, values and behaviours of their pupils.
6. Teachers can influence pupils’ resilience and beliefs about
their ability to succeed, by ensuring all pupils have the
opportunity to experience meaningful success.
7. A culture of mutual trust and respect between colleagues
fosters effective relationships and supportive professional
8. Building alignment of staff around the intended school
culture can create coherence in a school and give direction
and purpose to the staff’s work teaching pupils.

Contribute to establishing and sustaining the school’s strategic direction, including by:
• Ensuring the strategic direction sets ambitious standards for all pupils.
• Understanding and promoting the strategic direction, communicating about it regularly, and encouraging every member of the school community to support it.
• Ensuring all aspects of the school’s approach to continuous improvement are aligned to each other and around this strategic direction.
• Paying particular attention to securing alignment between curriculum, assessment and teaching, and of these to the school’s ambitious goals for its pupils.

Contribute to establishing and sustaining an effective culture across the school, including by:
• Articulating, modelling and rehearsing practices that contribute to the intended school culture and supporting
every member of the school community, particularly middle leaders, to do the same.
• Prioritising the use of intentional and consistent language that promotes challenge, aspiration and high expectations for pupils; and professional development and high professional standards for all colleagues.
• Implementing and monitoring the effects of school policies (particularly in your area of responsibility) to create an environment for pupils and colleagues where everyone feels welcome, safe, and able to learn from mistakes.

Learn that… Learn how to…

1. Learning involves a lasting change in pupils’ capabilities or
2. Effective teaching can transform pupils’ knowledge,
capabilities and beliefs about learning.
3. Paired and group activities can increase pupil success, but
to work together effectively pupils need guidance, support
and practice.
4. How pupils are grouped is also important; care should be
taken to monitor the impact of groupings on pupil
attainment, behaviour and motivation.
5. Homework can improve pupil outcomes, particularly for
older pupils, but it is likely that the quality of homework and
its relevance to main class teaching is more important than
the amount set.
6. Prior knowledge plays an important role in how pupils learn;
committing some key facts to their long-term memory is
likely to help pupils learn more complex ideas.
7. An important factor in learning is memory, which can be
thought of as comprising two elements: working memory
and long-term memory.
8. Working memory is where information that is being actively
processed is held, but its capacity is limited and can be

9. Long-term memory can be considered as a store of
knowledge that changes as pupils learn by integrating new
ideas with existing knowledge.
10. Where prior knowledge is weak, pupils are more likely to
develop misconceptions, particularly if new ideas are
introduced too quickly.
11. Regular purposeful practice of what has previously been
taught can help consolidate material and help pupils
remember what they have learned.
12. Requiring pupils to retrieve information from memory, and spacing practice so that pupils revisit ideas after a gap, are also likely to strengthen recall.
13. Worked examples that take pupils through each step of a
new process are also likely to support pupils to learn.
14. Effective teachers introduce new material in steps, explicitly
linking new ideas to what has been previously studied and
15. Modelling helps pupils understand new processes and
ideas; good models make abstract ideas concrete and
16. Guides, scaffolds and worked examples can help pupils
apply new ideas, but should be gradually removed as pupil
expertise increases.
17. Explicitly teaching pupils metacognitive strategies linked to subject knowledge, including how to plan, monitor and
evaluate, supports independence and academic success.
18. Questioning is an essential tool for teachers; questions can be used for many purposes, including to check pupils’ prior knowledge, assess understanding and break down
19. High-quality classroom discussion can support pupils to
articulate key ideas, consolidate understanding and extend
their vocabulary.
20. Practice is an integral part of effective teaching; ensuring
pupils have repeated opportunities to practise, with
appropriate guidance and support, increases success

Establish and sustain effective planning and preparation across the school, including by:
• Working with middle leaders to plan for the teaching of foundational knowledge, the removal of scaffolding as
pupils achieve high degrees of success and the practice of applying new knowledge and skills.
● Explaining and exemplifying how to break tasks down into constituent components when first setting up independent practice.
● Promoting the use of retrieval and spaced practice to build automatic recall of key knowledge and interleaving of
concrete and abstract examples.

Support colleagues to explain and model effectively, including by:
● Demonstrating and promoting effective practice that highlights the importance of explanations that start at the point of current pupil understanding; and include concrete representation of abstract ideas (e.g. making use of metaphors).
● Promoting high quality modelling that highlights the importance of narrating thought processes to make it clear how an expert might think when completing a task; drawing pupils’ attention to links with prior knowledge; and making the steps in a process memorable to ensure pupils can recall them (e.g. naming them, developing mnemonics, or linking to memorable stories).

Ensure teaching across the school stimulates pupil thinking and understanding, including by:
● Supporting staff to focus lesson time on what they want pupils to think hard about.
● Promoting the use of a range of question types that can improve the quality of class discussions (e.g. by modelling new vocabulary or asking pupils to justify answers to extend and challenge pupils).
● Providing examples of scaffolds for pupil discussion that increase the focus and rigour of dialogue.
● Working with school leaders to encourage approaches that support effective collaborative or paired work (e.g. clear success criteria, providing high-quality models, providing explicit guidance on how to work together effectively) whilst highlighting considerations that may affect its success (e.g. pupils’ familiarity with routines, pupils having the necessary prior knowledge and how pupils are grouped).

Curriculum and Assessment
Learn that… Learn how to…
1. A school’s curriculum enables it to set out the knowledge,
skills and values that its pupils will learn, encompassing
the national curriculum within a coherent wider vision for
successful learning.
2. School subjects are their own distinct disciplines which
have reference points in disciplines and practices beyond
the school.
3. The potential content of many subjects (especially
literature, humanities and arts) is contestable and
requires thoughtful, sustained review and engagement
with that subject discipline.
4. Secure subject knowledge helps teachers to motivate
pupils and teach effectively.
5. Ensuring pupils master foundational concepts and
knowledge before moving on is likely to build pupils’
confidence and help them succeed.
6. Anticipating common misconceptions within particular
subjects is also an important aspect of curricular
knowledge; working closely with colleagues to develop an
understanding of likely misconceptions is valuable.

Support colleagues to design a carefully sequenced, broad and coherent curricula, including by:
• Developing and valuing the subject expertise of teachers and subject leaders to build a collective understanding of
the inherent structures, key concepts, knowledge and skills within their subjects.
• Identifying examples of common misconceptions pupils may develop and promoting strategies for identifying and correcting misconceptions.
• Sharing powerful analogies, illustrations, examples,
explanations and demonstrations for colleagues to use in their teaching.
• Curating conversations and protecting curriculum development time in the interests of sustained, critical and rigorous curriculum improvement.

Support colleagues to develop pupils’ literacy, including by:
• Ensuring all staff are aware that systematic synthetic phonics is the most effective approach for teaching pupils to decode, particularly those teaching early reading phonics.

• Identifying technical vocabulary across subjects and working with colleagues to ensure that these words are
explicitly taught to pupils and that the use of technical language is modelled for pupils during classroom talk.
• Promoting the importance of domain and contextual knowledge and the role of foundation subjects in supporting reading.
• Sharing approaches that improve pupils’ writing, such as modelling and combining reading and writing tasks.

Support colleagues to provide high-quality feedback, including by:
• Working with school and subject leaders to develop a school feedback policy that ensures teachers know how to
give accurate and clear feedback that provides specific guidance on how pupils can improve and can make use of peer and self-assessment.
• Sharing examples of best practice in feedback that are likely to increase its effectiveness, (e.g. by sharing model work with pupils, and highlighting important details).

Encourage colleagues to use assessment that is high-quality and as reliable as possible without creating unnecessary workload, including by:
• Supporting colleagues to implement school feedback policies and assessment practices that help teachers draw conclusions about what pupils have learned by looking at patterns of performance over a number of assessments.
• Working with school and subject leaders to ensure that a body of well-designed, externally validated, summative assessment resources exists and supporting the integration and understanding of these resources in
curriculum planning.
• Working with school leaders to ensure that the school feedback policy considers strategies to support workload
management including by highlighting the value of verbal feedback, supporting the use of abbreviations and codes in
written feedback, and prioritising the highlighting of errors related to misunderstandings, rather than careless mistakes.
• Contributing to fair and transparent testing and/or examinations policies, processes and systems that are compliant with any external requirements.

Learn that… Learn how to…

1. While classroom-level strategies have a big impact on
pupil behaviour, consistency and coherence at a whole
school level are paramount.
2. Whole school changes usually take longer to embed than
individually tailored or single-classroom approaches
however, behaviour programmes are more likely to have
an impact on attainment outcomes if implemented at a
whole school level.
3. Teacher and pupil behaviours become ingrained and can
be difficult to change, so most whole school behaviour
policy or practice will likely take more than a school term
to demonstrate impact.
4. Some teachers will benefit from intensive support to
improve their classroom management.
5. Despite consistent systems being beneficial for all pupils,
universal behaviour systems are unlikely to meet the
needs of all pupils all of the time. If pupils need more
intensive support with their behaviour, the approach may
need to be adapted to individual needs.
6. SENCOs, pastoral leaders and other specialist
colleagues also have valuable expertise and can ensure
that appropriate support is in place for pupils.

7. Teaching model behaviours will reduce the need to
manage misbehaviour.
8. Teachers should encourage pupils to be self-reflective of
their own behaviour.
9. Establishing and reinforcing routines, including through
positive reinforcement, can help create an effective
learning environment.
10. A predictable and secure environment benefits all pupils,
but is particularly valuable for pupils with special
educational needs.
11. The ability to self-regulate one’s emotions affects pupils’
ability to learn, success in school and future lives.
12. Building effective relationships is easier when pupils
believe that their feelings will be considered and
13. Pupils are motivated by intrinsic factors (related to their
identity and values) and extrinsic factors (related to
14. Pupils’ investment in learning is also driven by their prior
experiences and perceptions of success and failure.
15. Building effective relationships with parents, carers and
families can improve pupils’ motivation, behaviour and
academic success.
16. Pupil behaviour has multiple influences, some of which
teachers can manage directly.
17. While every person’s behaviour and their motivations for
it are complex and unique, the age of pupils, or their

actual stage of development, can affect their behaviour in
ways that are predictable.
18. Understanding a pupil’s context will inform effective
responses to complex behaviour or misbehaviour.
19. There are influences on behaviour which teaching staff
can affect directly, others where there is a potential for
teaching staff to influence or advise, and a third category
where influences may be outside the purview of teaching
20. Pupils who need a tailored approach to support their
behaviour do not necessarily have a special educational
need and children with special educational needs and
disabilities will not necessarily need additional support
with their behaviour.
21. A key influence on a child’s behaviour in school is being
the victim of bullying. As well as causing stress for the
pupil, being bullied is linked to lower attainment and
longer-term health and prosperity outcomes.

Support the development of a positive, predictable and safe environment for pupils, including by:
● Contributing to the creation and consistent implementation of a whole school approach to recognition, rules and
sanctions that is predictable and built on good relationships between pupils and staff, complements the intended school
culture and includes a clear approach to escalation of behaviour incidents.
● Explicitly teaching, and supporting colleagues to teach, model behaviours (including self-regulation) to pupils.
● Working with staff across the school to continuously refine and improve the behavioural approaches, considering information from colleagues and data.
● Ensuring that every pupil has a supportive relationship with a member of staff.

Support colleagues to create a positive, predictable and safe environment in their classrooms, including by:
● Explaining the importance of rigorously maintaining clear behavioural expectations.
● Developing colleague’s ability to respond consistently to pupil behaviour through thoughtful application of recognition, rules and sanctions in line with the school’s approach; giving manageable, specific and sequential instructions; using consistent language and non-verbal
signals for common classroom directions; using early and least-intrusive interventions as an initial response to low level disruption and responding quickly to any behaviour or bullying that threatens emotional safety.
● Responding swiftly, supportively, and consistently to behaviour incidents that have been escalated by colleagues.

Motivate, and enable colleagues to motivate pupils, including by:
● Ensuring it is clear to colleagues how the curriculum and extra-curricular activities can be related to pupil aspirations
and long-term goals, alongside being able to express the inherent value of mastering content.
● Encouraging colleagues to provide opportunities for pupils to articulate their long-term goals and helping them to see how these are related to their success in school.

Contribute to a whole school approach in assisting pupils who need more intensive support with their behaviour, including by:
● Liaising with parents, carers and colleagues to better understand pupils’ individual circumstances, and how they can be supported to meet high academic and behavioural expectations.

● Identifying and applying specialist knowledge to policies and regulations relating to SEND (including reasonable adjustments), looked after children, children who have a social worker, safeguarding and exclusions.
● Supporting colleagues to select, adapt and consistently use targeted, age/developmentally appropriate interventions without lowering expectations of any pupil’s behaviour (e.g. functional behavioural assessment interventions and daily report cards).

Prevent and respond to bullying, including by:
● Contributing to the creation and execution of a whole school anti-bullying approach including prevention work that encourages pupils to empathise with others, understand the harm caused by bullying and play an active role in supporting all their peers.
● Communicating this whole school anti-bullying approach clearly and consistently to pupils, parents, colleagues and the wider community.

Additional and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Learn that… Learn how to…

1. The SEND Code of Practice (2015) and Equality Act
(2010) state that all children and young people are
entitled to an appropriate education, one that is
appropriate to their needs, promotes high standards and
the fulfilment of potential.
2. The SEND Code of Practice sets out four areas of need
(communication and interaction; cognition and learning;
social, emotional and mental health difficulties; and
physical and/or sensory needs). Considering these
primary needs is a useful first step, but a more detailed
understanding of an individual pupil is required for action
to be beneficial.
3. Pupils with special educational needs or disabilities are
likely to require additional or adapted support; working
closely with colleagues, families and pupils to understand
barriers and identify effective strategies is essential.
4. Adapting teaching in a responsive way, including by
providing targeted support to pupils who are struggling, is
likely to increase pupil success.
5. Pupils are likely to learn at different rates and to require
different levels and types of support from teachers to

6. Seeking to understand pupils’ differences, including their
different levels of prior knowledge and potential barriers
to learning, is an essential part of teaching.
7. Adaptive teaching is less likely to be valuable if it causes
the teacher to artificially create distinct tasks for different
groups of pupils or to set lower expectations for particular
8. Flexibly grouping pupils within a class to provide more
tailored support can be effective, but care should be
taken to monitor its impact on engagement and
motivation, particularly for low attaining pupils.
9. There is a common misconception that pupils have
distinct and identifiable learning styles. This is not
supported by evidence and attempting to tailor lessons to
learning styles is unlikely to be beneficial.

Ensure all pupils experience success, including by:
● Ensuring that colleagues fulfil statutory duties with regard to the SEND Code of Practice (2015) and Equality Act
● Ensuring interventions and support from teaching assistants and other professionals are targeted and never used as a replacement for high-quality teaching.
● Sharing examples of how to adapt lessons with colleagues, while maintaining high expectations for all, so that all pupils can experience success.
● Enabling colleagues to adapt lessons, make reasonable adjustments and implement structured academic or behavioural interventions, which are well-matched to pupils’ needs, before seeking a diagnosis or specialist support through the graduated approach as defined within the SEND Code of Practice.

Support colleagues to adapt their teaching to different pupil needs, including by:
● Sharing effective approaches for scaffolding new content and removing scaffolds over time.
● Promoting different forms of assessment (including specialist assessments linked to each area of need), including within lessons, to identify pupils who need further support.
● Ensuring colleagues can draw on support when teaching children with special educational needs and disabilities,
particularly the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).

Support colleagues to meet individual needs without creating unnecessary workload, including by:
● Promoting use of well-designed resources (e.g. existing high quality curricula and textbooks).
● Sharing effective approaches for intervening in lessons with individuals and small groups rather than planning different lessons for different groups of pupils or taking pupils out of classrooms for interventions during lessons.

Ensure pupils are grouped effectively (across subjects and within individual classrooms), including by:
● Emphasising the need to maintain high expectations for all groups, and ensuring all pupils have access to a rich curriculum.
● Ensuring that any groups based on attainment are subject specific, avoiding the perception that these groups are fixed.

Professional Development
Learn that… Learn how to…

1. Helping teachers improve through evidence-based
professional development that is explicitly focused on
improving classroom teaching can be a cost-effective
way to improve pupils’ academic outcomes when
compared with other interventions, and can narrow the
disadvantage attainment gap.
2. Effective professional development is likely to involve a
lasting change in teachers' capabilities or understanding
so that their teaching changes.
3. Professional development should be developed using a
clear theory of change, where facilitators understand
what the intended educational outcomes for teachers are
and how these will subsequently impact pupil outcomes.
Ideally, they should check whether teachers learn what
was intended.
4. Whilst professional development may need to be
sustained over time, what the time is used for, is more
important than the amount.
5. More effective professional development is likely to be
designed to build on the existing knowledge, skills and
understanding of participants.
6. The content of professional development programmes
should be based on the best available evidence on
effective pedagogies and classroom interventions, and aim to enhance capabilities and understanding in order to
improve pupil outcomes.
7. Teachers are more likely to improve if they feel that they
are working within a supportive professional environment,
where both trust and high professional standards are
8. Supportive environments include having the time and
resource to undertake relevant professional development
and collaborate with peers, and the provision of feedback
to enable teachers to improve. They also include
receiving support from school leadership, both in
addressing concerns and in maintaining standards for
pupil behaviour.
9. Teaching quality is a crucial factor in raising pupil
10. Professional development is likely to be more effective
when design and delivery involves specialist expertise
from a range of sources. This may include internal or
external expertise.
11. Teacher developers should choose approaches that suit
the aims and context of their professional development
programme. Successful models have included regular,
expert-led conversations about classroom practice,
teacher development groups, and structured
interventions. However, these activities do not work in all
circumstances and the model should fit the educational
aims, content and context of the programme.

12. All schools with early career teachers undertaking
statutory induction must adhere to the regulations and
relevant statutory guidance.
13. School staff with disabilities may require reasonable
adjustments; working closely with these staff to
understand barriers and identify effective strategies is

Ensure colleagues take part in effective professional development, including by:
• Supporting school leaders to align professional development with wider school improvement priorities.
• Promoting the use of well-designed frameworks and resources across the school (e.g. sources of subject knowledge, the Early Career Framework and associated core induction programme for early career teachers, ITT Core Content Framework, suite of National Professional Qualifications).
• Supporting teachers across the school to plan, test and implement new, evidence-informed ideas.
• Working with school leaders and colleagues to identify opportunities for staff within the school colleagues to facilitate professional development approaches.
• Supporting teachers to continually develop specialist subject, phase and domain expertise.
• Supporting school leaders to identify teachers needs and make reasonable adjustments to professional development (e.g. to content, resources and venue).
• Ensuring that any professional development time is used productively and that all colleagues perceive the relevance to their work.
• Promoting school wide understanding of the Early Career Framework, the ITT Core Content Framework, the Teachers’ Standards and the Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development to the school’s training and induction offer.
• Supporting the induction process and ensuring early career teachers access their statutory entitlements.
• Ensuring that the professional environment for staff is supportive with sufficient time for high-quality dialogue and collaboration.

Conduct, and support colleagues to conduct, regular expertled conversations (which could be referred to as mentoring or coaching) about all aspects of teaching, including by:
• Building a relationship of trust and mutual respect between the individuals involved.
• Tailoring the conversation to the expertise and needs of the individual (e.g. adapting conversations to be more or less facilitative, dialogic or directive).
• Using approaches including observations of activities (e.g. teaching, presenting) or artefacts (e.g. assessment
materials, curriculum plans, draft budgets, draft policies), listening, facilitating reflection and discussion through the asking of clear and intentional questions, and receiving actionable feedback with opportunities to test ideas and practise implementation of new approaches.

Organisational Management
Learn that… Learn how to…
1. Leaders have a duty of care to pupils and staff.
2. All staff have a responsibility to provide a safe
environment in which children can learn.
3. Schools and colleges and their staff are an important part
of the wider safeguarding system for children.
4. Good financial, human and educational resource
management, strategic planning, employee relations and
risk management are the foundations of a good school.
5. Schools are public bodies and so have a duty to use all
public money in the public interest.
6. Different types of schools are funded through different
mechanisms. Each mechanism has different financial
regulations associated with it.
7. Different types of employees have different terms and
8. A senior leader should play a major role in managing staff
and resources under the overall direction of the

Contribute to the protection and safety of pupils and colleagues, including by:
● Ensuring safeguarding is the first priority of every colleague in the school.
● Understanding and complying with the law and statutory guidance related to safeguarding (including Keeping Children Safe in Education) and health and safety.
● Working with other agencies (e.g. children’s social care teams) to share information and support wider child protection work.
● Contributing to clear, effective safeguarding and health and safety policies, processes and systems within the school.

Contribute to effective systems, processes and policies for managing admissions, exclusions and appeals, including by:
● Understanding and complying with the relevant law and statutory guidance.
● Contributing to fair and inclusive policies, processes and systems.
● Ensuring that colleagues understand and carry out their responsibilities including complying with data, recording and reporting requirements.

● Contributing to best practice in planning, commissioning and monitoring alternative provision.

Contribute to the prioritisation, allocation and management of resources (including financial, human and educational) to
ensure sustainability, including by:
● Understanding the financial mechanisms (and associated regulations) through which the school is funded.
● Recognising that there is a strong connection between strategic decisions and the associated resource implications (e.g. using Integrated Curriculum and Financial Planning to ensure that the timetable delivers the school’s curriculum priorities within the available budget) and using this knowledge to inform decision making.
● Considering the opportunity cost of any allocation decisions.
● Contributing to proposing a prudent budget to those responsible for governance and enabling clear, effective financial policies, processes and systems within the school (e.g. procurement, audit, expenses).
● Understanding how financial benchmarking information can inform the school’s spending decisions.
● Understanding how to read accounts, statements and forecasts, and using this to appropriately monitor the budget and assist with financial planning. 

● Where relevant, contribute to developing a technology infrastructure that is good value for money, supports school operations and teaching, and is safe and secure.
● Where relevant, contribute to ensuring that school premises are secure, well maintained and meet any statutory requirements (e.g. health and safety or hygiene in any dining areas).
● Drawing on the experience and expertise of colleagues with specialist knowledge in organisational management.

Recruit, develop, support and appropriately manage colleagues (including non-teaching colleagues), including by:
● Contributing to ensuring recruitment and appointment processes are broad and inclusive, and based on open and fair criteria, to attract the best range of candidates for all roles.
● Having high expectations, communicating regularly and clearly, considering staff motivations and workload, prioritising staff professional development, and holding colleagues to account for their performance.
● Contributing to ensuring that all school leaders recognise that assessing teacher expertise through singular approaches (e.g. lesson observations) is limited and that they should use multiple methods of data collection to make inferences about teacher quality.
● Understanding and adhering to the law and statutory guidance related to employment (including management of misconduct, grievances, redundancy, flexible working, equality and reasonable adjustments) and policy andprocesses related to pay and conditions.
● Considering the expertise different colleagues have and deploying and delegating to staff to maximise the use of that expertise.
● Contributing to creating and regularly reviewing succession plans in collaboration with those responsible for governance, particularly for critical roles across the school.
● Contributing to the creation of clear, effective HR policies, processes and systems (e.g. induction).

Contribute to the identification, management and mitigation of risk, including by:
● Contributing to the creation and implementation of policies, processes and systems that ensure all colleagues act in
accordance with the law and statutory guidance while empowering professionals to exercise their judgement where necessary.
● Contributing to the creation of policies, processes and systems that are well designed (e.g. are clear and proportionate) and consistently implemented to avoid significant negative effects on professional culture and workload.
● Contributing to an approach to risk management that involves regular review and reporting and considers the likelihood and impact of any risk (including significant emergencies) alongside any mitigating actions and contingencies.
● Contributing to the creation of systems for feedback that allow policies, processes and systems to be reviewed and improved.

Learn that… Learn how to…

1. Implementation is an ongoing process that must adapt to
context over time, rather than a single event. It involves
the application of specific implementation activities and
principles over an extended period (e.g. implementation
planning, ongoing monitoring).
2. Successful implementation requires expert knowledge of
the approach that is being implemented and the related
area of practice (e.g. behaviour), which is shared
amongst staff.
3. Implementation should involve repurposing existing
processes and resources (e.g. governance, data
collection) rather than creating a separate set of
4. Effective implementation begins by accurately diagnosing the problem and making evidence-informed decisions on
what to implement.
5. Thorough preparation is important: time and care spent
planning, communicating and resourcing the desired
changes provides the foundation for successful delivery.
Teachers and leaders should keep checking how ready
their colleagues are to make the planned changes.
6. Implementing an approach with fidelity (i.e. as intended)
increases the chance of it impacting positively on school
practices and pupil outcomes. Any approach should
specify which features of the approach need to be
adopted closely and where there is scope for adaptation.
7. A combination of integrated activities is likely to be
needed to support implementation (e.g. training,
monitoring, feedback) rather than any single activity.
Follow-on support (e.g. through high-quality coaching) is
key to embedding new skills and knowledge developed
during initial training.
8. Delivery of a new approach is a learning process –
expect challenges but aim for continuous improvement.
Monitoring implementation is an essential tool in
identifying, and acting on, problems and solutions.
9. The confidence to make good implementation decisions
is derived, in part, from confidence in the data on which
those decisions are based. Reliable monitoring and
evaluation enables schools to make well-informed
choices, and to see how their improvement efforts are
impacting on teacher knowledge, classroom practices
and pupil outcomes. 

10. A school’s capacity to implement an approach is rarely
static (e.g. staff leave, contexts change). Sustained
implementation requires leaders to keep supporting and
rewarding the appropriate use of an approach and
checking it is still aligned with the overall strategy and
11. Implementation benefits from dedicated but distributed
school leadership. Senior leaders should provide a clear
vision and direction for the changes to come. At the same
time, implementation is a complex process that requires
feedback from staff and shared leadership
12. Implementation processes are influenced by, but also
influence, school climate and culture. Implementation is
easier when staff feel trusted to try new things and make
mistakes, safe in the knowledge that they will be
supported with resources, training, and encouragement to
keep improving.

Plan and execute implementation in stages by:
• Ensuring that implementation is a structured process, where school leaders actively plan, prepare, deliver and embed changes.
• Prioritising appropriately by making a limited number of meaningful strategic changes and pursuing these diligently.
• Reviewing and stopping ineffective practices before implementing new ones.

Make the right choices on what to implement by:
• Identifying a specific area for improvement using a robust diagnostic process, focusing on the problem that needs solving, rather than starting with a solution.
• Providing credible interpretations of reliable data, which focus on pupils’ knowledge and understanding.
• Examining current approaches, how they need to change and the support required to do so.
• Adopting new approaches based on evidence of what has (and has not) worked before, using both internal and external evidence (e.g. pupil outcome data and researchbased guidance).
• Ensuring it is suitable for the school context, recognising the parameters within which the change will operate (e.g. school policies) and where the school is in its development trajectory (e.g. addressing any significant behaviour problems would be an immediate priority).
• Assessing and adapting plans based on the degree to which colleagues are ready to implement the approach (e.g. current staff motivation, expertise, training and development).

Prepare appropriately for the changes to come by:
• Being explicit about what will be implemented, and the overall desired outcomes.
• Specifying the elements of the approach that appear critical to its success (i.e. the ‘active ingredients’) and communicating expectations around these with clarity.

• Developing a clear, logical and well specified implementation plan, and using this plan to build collective understanding and ownership of the approach.
• Using an integrated set of implementation activities that work at different levels in the school (e.g. individual teachers, whole school changes).

Deliver changes by:
• Managing expectations and encouraging ‘buy-in’ until positive signs of changes emerge.
• Monitoring implementation (including by clearly assigning and following up on the completion of critical tasks) and using this information to tailor and improve the approach over time (e.g. identifying a weak area of understanding and providing further training).
• Reinforcing initial training with expert follow-on support within the school.
• Prioritising the ‘active ingredients’ of the approach until they are securely understood and implemented, and then, if needed, introducing adaptations.

Sustain changes by:
• Using reliable monitoring and evaluation to review how the implementation activities are meeting the intended objectives and continue to align with school improvement priorities. 

• Continuing to model, acknowledge, support, recognise and reward good practice.
• Treating scale-up of an approach as a new implementation process (e.g. from one department to another).

Working in Partnership
Learn that… Learn how to…
1. Good relationships and partnerships are a foundation of a
good school.
2. Building effective relationships with parents, carers and
families can improve pupils’ motivation, behaviour and
academic success.
3. There is an established link between the home learning
environment at all ages and children’s performance at
school. However, evidence on effective strategies that
schools can use to engage parents/carers in their
children’s education is mixed.
4. If the aim is solely to improve academic outcomes,
classroom interventions working directly with children
currently have more evidence of effectiveness at
improving educational outcomes than parenting
interventions with the same aim.
5. Working effectively with parents/carers can be
challenging, and is likely to require sustained effort and
6. Sharing effective practice between schools, and building
capacity and effective mechanisms for doing so, is key to
closing the attainment gap. To improve performance
school leaders need to collaborate and work with
colleagues and other relevant professionals within and
beyond the school, including relevant external agencies

Work in partnership with parents and carers, including by:
• Providing practical approaches to support parents and carers to help their children with learning at home including
promoting reading; establishing a regular routine; good homework habits; setting goals, planning, and managing their time, effort, and emotions.
● Communicating carefully to encourage positive, two-way parents/carers’ efficacy and avoiding stigmatising, blaming, or discouraging parents/carers, and ensuring staff communicate in the same way.
• Planning carefully for group-based parenting initiatives (e.g. regular workshops) ensuring that the time and location is convenient, recruitment is face-to-face, relationships are built on trust and the environment is informal and welcoming.
• Offering more structured, evidence-based programmes to develop positive behaviour and consistency where needed, starting by assessing needs and asking parents and carers about what would help them.
• Where appropriate, considering offering regular home visits for younger children with greater needs. This can be an effective approach for parents and carers that struggle to
attend meetings, and for building relationships.
• Handling parental complaints effectively by developing a fair and non-adversarial procedure that is easy to use and understand.

Contribute to working in partnership with other schools and school trusts alongside the community and other organisations including professional associations and local authorities, including by:
• Clarifying, in writing where appropriate, the purpose of the partnership and the commitments and/or duties each partner has to it.
• Understanding the full range of organisations around a school, how they interact with the school and each other, and any statutory relationships or duties that exist between organisations.
• Establishing clear, open communications between organisations with nominated ‘relationship holders’ and clear escalation points where appropriate.
• Contributing expertise to existing networks and partnerships.
• Acting as a credible public advocate when required through a carefully thought through approach to engagement with the media and use of other communication channels (e.g. social media, newsletters, websites).

Governance and Accountability
Learn that… Learn how to…
1. High quality effective and ethical governance is key to
success in our school system.
2. Different types of school structures have different
governance and accountability arrangements. Each set of
arrangements has different regulations and statutory
duties and therefore different policies, processes and
systems associated with it.
3. School leaders are accountable for their decisions and
actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny
necessary to ensure this.
4. School leaders have a responsibility to ensure that staff
know, understand and are held to account for their
professional responsibilities.

Begin to appropriately participate in governance, and fulfil obligations to give account, be challenged, and accept responsibility, including by:
● Understanding the governance arrangements of the school, the respective roles (including the chair and the clerk), and the policies, processes and systems associated with it.
● Understanding and, where relevant, applying the Governance handbook and Academies Financial Handbook to the creation and continuous improvement of policies, processes and systems.
● Preparing and presenting formal papers that are clear, concise and accurate.
● Building professional working relationships with those in governance roles (including the chair and the clerk).

Begin to appropriately participate in and fulfil obligations to external organisations including the Department for Education, Ofsted, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Local Authority and auditors, including by:
● Adhering to the Principles of Public Life at all times.

● Applying a good understanding of the law, statutory
guidance and regulatory frameworks to decisions,
processes and systems.
● Contributing to submitting timely, accurate reports and
participating in inspections or reviews as required.
● Building professional working relationships with those in
external accountability organisations.
● Understanding the roles and responsibilities involved in
more complex partnerships involving pupils (e.g. health,
education and children’s services organisations in an
Education and Health Care Plan, and where pupils are in
alternative provision).