Middle leaders in schools need the right knowledge and skills for their role as they are an integral part of school improvement. It is important that they keep up to date with current educational developments and research and are self-evaluative and self-reflective. Reflection is an essential part of teaching and leadership and helps develop practice and skills.
Questions to reflect on:
- How effective are you at providing an example of excellence as a classroom practitioner, which inspires, motivates, and supports team members?
- Do you assist in the provision of professional leadership for the school through instilling a strong sense of accountability in staff of their work on pupils’ outcomes?
- Do you regularly and consistently communicate and uphold the school’s vision and ethos to help drive leadership in the school?
- How do you ensure there is a consistently high-quality education provided for all pupils which improves the standards of learning, progress, and achievement?
- How effective is your practice in monitoring, analysing, and evaluating school data? Do you demand ambitious standards for all pupils?
- How well are you able to work with individuals, groups, or teams of staff to effect the improvement of standards across the phase, department or whole school?
- Are you able to provide support and challenge for staff members? How well do you empower others and ensure they seek the support required?
- Do you set high standards and expectations, recognising differences, and respecting cultural diversity and secure exemplary behaviour?
- Do you have a positive impact on the quality of teaching in your own classroom and area of specialism / key stage / phase of school? How do you know?
- How competent are you at forging positive relationships and attitudes towards pupils and staff, parents, governors, and the local community?
- Do you proactively lead professional development? Do you work in collaboration with senior leaders to motivate, support, challenge and develop staff practice to secure continual school improvement?
- Do you pursue regular personal professional development? What are your strengths? What areas would you like to develop? Do you engage with professional networks or grassroot organisations?
‘Middle leaders are often described as the engine of successful schools. They play a pivotal role in supporting learners and staff alike and are more often than not responsible for driving the implementation of strategies and facilitating real change in schools. They spin many plates, juggling their additional responsibilities in addition to their teaching responsibilities.
As masters of their specialism, middle leaders are often the vehicle for curriculum development. They are responsible for driving up the quality of teaching and learning and provision within their teams; not only amongst other specialists, but increasingly they are bringing non-specialists with them. For most, a middle leader responsibility will be the first taste of school leadership; a position they choose to take on due to the passion they have for their subject or phase, or maybe a commitment to their setting.’ (Ally Sousa, BlueSky, 2023)
This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer.
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