Improving school systems at scale

Leadership development

We support school leaders to become agents of change in their own school and beyond. Our evidence identifies leadership – at national and school level – as one of the key levers in school performance and developing effective leaders is a key focus of our work.

Our school leadership development approach recognises the function of academic leadership and teacher supervision over its form; we support the best school leaders to become agents of change for wider system improvement beyond their own school and our contextualised approach is cost effective in driving rapid school reform.

Leadership development for sustainable change

Our large-scale programmes all have a focus on leadership. In Rwanda, leadership is one of the programme’s three foundations – alongside teacher development and system strengthening. In keeping with our ethos of enabling sustainable change, our practice is Rwanda is centred on the development of a cadre of headteachers who will support other heads through coaching and professional learning communities. In Kenya, we used our system leadership model, designed to harness the existing expertise of successful school principals and deploy it to increase the leadership and teaching capacity of all schools.

Developing education leaders in the UK

Leadership development is a founding tenet of our Schools Partnership Programme. The framework develops the skills of senior leaders in peer review and empowers them to effect the necessary culture change; once embedded at leadership level, the model is then rolled out at all levels within a cluster. Longstanding proponents of the school-led system, we played a key role in the design and establishment of Wales’ National Academy for Educational Leadership; the academy sits independently of government and works collaboratively across the system to secure, nurture and inspire leaders now and in the future.

Evidence-informed practice

Having high-quality school leadership is vital in improving standards in schools everywhere. From global evidence – including our own reports looking at The rapid improvement of government schools in England and School improvement in London: a global perspective – we know that the quality of school leadership is one of the most powerful determinants of student outcomes, second only to the quality of teaching. Effective instructional leadership – leadership which improves the quality of classroom teaching and ensures resources are directed at issues which impact pupil outcomes – is a smart way to invest funding as the improvement of a smaller group – leaders – has an impact on a much larger group – teachers.