The ‘Stepping Up to Headship’ Programme

Stepping Up to Headship

‘Stepping Up to Headship’ will focus on exploring the leadership attributes which are essential for successful headship and aims to further build colleagues’ confidence and motivation to explore headship roles. It is designed to complement the NPQH programme and is equally applicable as either a precursor or successor to NPQH. The programme, designed and facilitated by experienced school leaders, will offer authentic learning opportunities through a range of activities and will be driven by participants’ development needs and priorities. The programme will challenge and support colleagues to consider:

  • ‘Leadership in the Current Context’ – the new and emerging headship models within our education landscape;
  • ‘Fulfilling the Role’ – effective transition into such roles and the leadership skills, values and behaviours they demand;
  • ‘Leading Performance’ – the role of the lead professional in the pursuit of excellence.

In addition, a number of (optional) practical ‘master class’ opportunities will be available. These will be focussed on key themes, to be determined in response to participant demand, but would look to address areas not covered in detail in NPQH such as finance, HR and employment law, interview preparation, and accountability to governors, directors and/or members.


  • The three mandatory Core Sessions will take place on: 19th May (morning), 23rd May (afternoon) and 21st June (afternoon)
  • The optional Master Class Sessions will take place on: 15th June (morning), 29th June (time TBC) and 12th July (time TBC)

Participant Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for this programme you must be a senior leader with headship potential in a school (academy or maintained) looking to move into a headship position (including head of school) within 18 months and have the full support of your headteacher. NCTL funds are available to support participation in the following areas: Bradford, North Yorkshire, East Riding, NE Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Doncaster, Rotherham or Sheffield (areas specified by NCTL).

All participants should complete the application form which can be downloaded here.

Cost & Funding Arrangements

The full cost of the programme is: £1,360. However, as the Yorkshire and Humber Region is one of many experiencing challenges in the recruitment of headteachers, funds are available to participants from the above mentioned areas thus reducing the cost to £300 per participant. For participants from schools/academies subscribing to Learners First, the cost will be met in full.

Download the programme flyer here

Learners First – an inclusive teaching school partnership

Learners First is an inclusive teaching school partnership of over 200 schools from all phases. Established in August 2012 Learners First is a not-for profit company whose main focus is to build excellence and address underperformance in equal measure through system-led school improvement and leadership development. The principle objective is to better deliver the mission in a greater number of schools and settings. Learners First aims to achieve this through investment in three core interdependent areas of work:

  • Leadership development and transformation
  • System-led school to school support
  • Governance and governor development

The education landscape is changing significantly with schools and school leaders at the heart of these changes. Whilst recent reforms present many fantastic opportunities for collaboration, innovation and school-led improvement, it can also be quite a daunting prospect for schools and their leaders, particularly at a time of austerity and with fewer resources at their disposal. However, Learners First is well placed to support and make a significant contribution to the maturity and effectiveness of a school-led system. Far from creating a dependency culture, Learners First is able to support schools, academies and MATs to lead their own improvement by providing and brokering additional capacity and school expertise.

To discuss your requirements please contact us:-

Tel. 01709-731272

News & Updates
Amanda Spielman’s speech at the ASCL annual conference

10th March 2017

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, spoke to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) recently. “The Ofsted I have inherited is far more focused on what works, far more self-critical and reflective, and far more outward facing and engaged with the sectors it inspects, than at any point in its history. It is a privilege to work with this team to carry that forward. Our education system is only ever be as good as the people who work in it. We know there are very real challenges: funding pressures, changing structures, curriculum and qualification reforms.

But we are lucky enough to have the most talented generation of school and college leaders in our history. Which, by the way, means that we can have, and should aim to have, the best outcomes for pupils in the world.”

Read more
Justine Greening’s vision for the teaching profession

20th February 2017

The Education Secretary’s plans to strengthen qualified teacher status (QTS) and continued professional development from September 2019.


In a speech at the Chartered College of Teaching’s inaugural conference, Education Secretary Justine Greening set out her ambition for a high-status teaching profession, backed up by high-quality continued professional development and pledged her support for teachers as the body of experts who are key to driving social mobility.

Addressing an audience of over 450 teachers, Justine Greening described the launch of new the College of Teaching as a historic moment for the teaching profession.

Read more
Open consultation – school exclusion guidance: proposed revisions

14th March 2017

The DFE are seeking views on planned changes to statutory guidance for local-authority-maintained-schools, academies and pupil referral units regarding school exclusions.

Proposed revisions to the statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils to make the rules that apply to exclusions and the process of review clearer.

The guidance is for:

  • headteachers
  • governing bodies
  • independent review panels
  • academy trusts
  • local authorities

The revisions include both statutory and non-statutory information. Statutory guidance sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law. You should follow the guidance unless you have a very good reason not to.


Consultation response
New report with practical advice for teachers on pupil behaviour

24th March 2017

An independent review providing practical guidance to teachers about how to tackle bad behaviour in the classroom has been published today (24 March 2017).

Teacher and behaviour expert Tom Bennett spent several months meeting classroom teachers and leaders from a variety of schools to identify successful strategies used to tackle disruptive behaviour.

His report ‘Creating a culture: how school leaders can optimise behaviour’ concludes that while there is no ‘silver bullet’, there are a variety of strategies that can be used to tackle poor behaviour.



Interested in a Career in Teaching?

Teaching is a hugely fulfilling career and Learners First Schools Partnership has an amazing track record of recruiting, developing and employing high quality trainee teachers across South Yorkshire.  As a trainee you could be eligible for a bursary of up to £30,000 and there may be opportunities for you to earn while you train through the salaried routes.

Learners First is an accredited provider of the School Direct teacher training programme and offers high quality school-based training in early years, primary and secondary schools. Our training programmes give you the opportunity to ‘learn on the job’ alongside outstanding school leaders as well as achieving a PGCE qualification and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Trainees are supported every step of the way and through the professional networks and the wider Leadership Curriculum, employment, career progression and professional development opportunities are plentiful with Learners First.


You could be on your way to an exciting career in teaching sooner than you think with fantastic training and enhanced employment opportunities with Learners First Schools Partnership. We are currently recruiting the future generation of outstanding trainee teachers to our early years, primary and secondary programmes and would welcome a conversation if you would like to find out more or how to apply.

Please contact or visit the School Direct pages.

If you have the drive, passion and commitment, we have the professionals and programme to support you on your journey to becoming an outstanding teacher!



The School Direct application process for the 2017/18 programme is now open via UCAS

The governance handbook - January 2017

Governing boards are the strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school and academy. They play a vital role in ensuring the best possible education for every child by creating robust accountability for school leaders.

Lord Nash

Lord Nash

The Department of Education (DfE) have recently released an updated version of the Governance Handbook (Jan 2017) and the new Competency Framework for Governors (January 2017).

The ‘Competency framework for governance’ sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that school and academy governing boards need to be effective.

The ‘Competency framework for clerking sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to provide professional clerking to school and academy governing boards.

The following link will take you to the relevant DfE website page should you wish to view or download these documents:

Governance Handbook 2017

Governor Development Programme 2016/17

Effective governance has always been crucial to the success of schools and academies but never more so than now when governance features so decisively in the current Ofsted Framework. Our Governor Development continues to be a core area of work for Learners First.

For details of our Spring Term 2017 programmes and events please follow the link below.

Governor events

School-to-School Support

Learners First’s approach to school-to-school support is dynamic and innovative. Any support that is provided, brokered or commissioned by Learners First is designed to be bespoke and tailored to meet the needs of the identified school(s) to maximise its impact. For details of our programmes and events please follow the link below.

School2School support

Support Staff Development Programme

This programme aims to support colleagues currently employed in Support Staff roles in school to make the transition into teaching. The programme has been designed and will be delivered by a range of Specialist Leaders of Education and serving school leaders from a variety of schools, contexts and phases.

For further details follow the link below.

Support staff development

Schools and Academies

have accessed Learners First programmes

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE)

have been designated and are available for deployment through Learners First

middle and senior leaders and aspirant headteachers

have accessed the nationally accredited, licensed leadership programmes through Learners First since 2012

Serving School Leaders

contributed to the design and delivery of leadership programmes


See what our course delegates say

Heatherwood’s Primary Phase Leader has just completed the NPQSL qualification with yourselves and the impact has been fantastic; with regards to both her personal growth and professional development.

Kind regards
Lisa Suter

Heatherwood School, Doncaster

Thank you for the invitation this morning.  I thought the quality of the seminar was excellent.

Dave Vernon
Vice Principal/AST
Tuxford Academy, Newark

Ofsted seminar – 21st Sept

I am just writing to thank you and all the people who delivered/facilitated the NPQH course through Learners First. I am pleased to say that I received confirmation of my successful completion of the qualification over the summer. I have gained lots from the course and feel that without the excellent face to face days, visits to schools and the support that you have offered it would not have been as enjoyable and beneficial to my career as it has been. Can you please pass on my thanks to all concerned and I hope that Learners First continue to provide these outstanding leadership opportunities for years to come.

Karl O’Reilly, St Luke’s School, Scunthorpe

“I like the Learners First approach. It is engaging, stimulating and down to earth with excellent use of relevant expertise.” “Poses lots of questions and gives time and a professional ‘community’ to reflect with and bounce ideas off.”


“An excellent course which has allowed me to develop as a Senior Leader. Often courses are “busy” but you get nothing out of them for you personally, but this is quite the opposite. Also, feedback has felt valued.”


“I really enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside secondary and special school teachers.”

“It has improved my practice in terms of management of people.”