The Ambition

‘To transform leadership at all levels through the development of a leadership culture that unreservedly sets high expectations, is impactful and challenges the status quo, and is relentless in striving for excellence’.

The Objectives

The seminars and workshops endeavour to:

  • Help headteachers address current and emerging key issues relating to learning, progress and outcomes
  • Provide real, relevant and challenging leadership development opportunities that help headteachers in their own and other settings
  • Ensure leadership skills and insights are strengthened with links to the new headteacher standards
  • Provide access to colleagues who have led outstanding practice and signpost to other best and emerging practice in the relevant field
  • Ensure leaders share practice and plan for improvement as a result of the workshop
  • Support leaders to share new knowledge and improvement strategies with their peers
  • Create opportunities for school to school support within and beyond the local area.

Leadership Opportunities

The Learners First Leadership Curriculum is now well established with over 1,200 teachers and leaders accessing programmes and leadership development opportunities since 2014 from ITT to Executive Headship. There is increasing evidence that suggests this school-led approach to leadership development is beginning to have a positive impact on school improvement and pupil outcomes.

explaining_2-tallThe Level 4 Leadership offer and the approach to its delivery will continue to focus on national and local themes affecting school leaders. It will need to be flexible to respond to national and local changes, but additional half termly breakfast network meetings where heads can engage in high quality dialogue and share practice and concerns in small discussion groups before the start of the school day and evening leadership events that will explore wider aspects of leadership and provide professional development opportunities for heads have been organised to complement and extend the current leadership seminar offer.

In response to headteacher feedback, Learners First will continue to work with leading national and regional figures to ensure the Level 4 suite of provision is high quality, current, brings additional expertise to the local area and acts as a champion of best practice.

Ofsted Inspection Framework


with Nick Whittaker, HMI & Ofsted’s Specialist Adviser (SEND)

29 January 2019, 9.00am – 12.00pm (Arrival and Registration from 8.30am)

Aston Hall Hotel
Worksop Road, Aston, Sheffield S26 2EE

In October 2018, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announced details of planned changes to the way Ofsted inspects schools, colleges, FE and EYFS from September 2019. These changes will move Ofsted’s focus away from headline data to look instead at how schools are achieving these results, and whether they are offering a curriculum that is broad, rich and deep, or simply teaching to the test. Ms Spielman announced that Ofsted will consult on the introduction of a new judgement for ‘quality of education’ which will replace the current ‘outcomes for pupils’ and ‘teaching, learning and assessment’ judgements with a broader, single judgement.

Learners First is delighted to be working with Nick Whittaker, HMI and Ofsted’s Specialist Adviser (SEND), to offer a unique leadership opportunity for Headteachers, Executive Headteachers and CEOs to consider these planned changes in more detail and their implications as well as the wider role of inspection within the education and school system. Nick will talk about Ofsted’s future strategy and the development of the education inspection framework for 2019. This will be followed by a round table, open discussion to consider the nature of inspection at a much deeper level, including themes such as:

  • how leaders balance ethical and moral considerations with accountability to inform strategic decisions;
  • the leadership tensions and dilemmas this juxtaposition creates (with particular reference to the curriculum);
  • how leaders can respond more collaboratively to accountability; and
  • what the terms ‘capacity’ and ‘meaningful collaboration’ might mean within this context.

Cost: Fully funded for delegates from schools and academies subscribing to Learners First or £120 per person for delegates from non-subscribing schools and academies.

BOOK A PLACE: To reserve a place please email your name, school and contact details to:

Alex Quigley 01March2019
Closing the Vocabulary Gap Book


With Alex Quigley

1st March 2019
9.00am to 3.30pm (Arrival from 8.30am)

Holiday Inn, Rotherham

Alex Quigley joined the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) as a Senior Associate in 2018 after fifteen years working as an English teacher. Alongside his teaching role, he was the Director of Huntington Research School, in York. Alex has authored several books, including the best selling ‘Closing the Vocabulary Gap’ in which he explores the increased demands of an academic curriculum and how closing the vocabulary gap between our ‘word poor’ and ‘word rich’ students could prove the vital difference between school failure and success.

As part of our continued focus on oracy and language development, Learners First is delighted to welcome Alex to South Yorkshire to discuss the themes covered in his book as well as his wider research within this area. Throughout the seminar, delegates will be supported to consider the vital role of vocabulary in all learning as well as strategies to encourage vocabulary development. Alex will look at the case for teacher-led efforts to develop students’ vocabulary and provide practical solutions to support teachers across the curriculum, incorporating easy-to-use tools, resources and classroom activities.

Fully funded for delegates from schools and academies subscribing to Learners First or schools involved in the Learners First SSIF project.
For delegates from all other schools/academies there is a charge of £50 per person.

BOOK A PLACE: To reserve a place please email your name, school and contact details to:

Dr-Ger-Graus 15Mar2019


15th March 2019 09.00am – 12.30pm

Aston Hall Hotel
Worksop Road, Aston, Sheffield S26 2EE

‘Children can only aspire to what they know exists…’

Dr Ger Graus is Global Director of Education at KidZania, the UK’s first educational entertainment centre which provides children with experiential learning opportunities. He is also the former founding Director of The Children’s University, a multi award     winning international charity providing exciting, innovative learning opportunities through its ‘Passport to Learning’. Prior to these roles, Ger was a secondary school teacher in various schools across the UK before becoming an Education Adviser for    Manchester City Council, a Senior Inspector for Salford City Council and Director of the two Wythenshawe EAZs based in the south of Manchester. In 2014, he was awarded an OBE in recognition for his services to children and young people.

Learners First is delighted to be working with Dr Ger Graus again following his inspiring contribution to the NPQEL programme. Drawing upon his experiences, international work and case studies from local schools, Ger will share his unique insights to       challenge some of the prevailing orthodoxies within education. He will guide and challenge delegates to consider how brave and bold leadership decisions can raise levels of expectation and the aspirations of children, schools and communities they serve.

In his book ‘Natural Born Learners’, author Alex Beard says of Ger:

“In learning terms, Ger Graus is Jean-Jacques Rousseau meets Willy Wonka.” Sir Ken Robinson, observed:

“KidZania are extremely fortunate to have someone of Ger’s experience, insight and passion to lead them.”


This seminar is designed for all those holding central governance and leadership roles within a MAT (including for example CEOs, CFOs/FDs, COOs and Chairs of Trust Boards, Directors and Members)

Cost: Fully funded for delegates from schools and academies subscribing to Learners First or £120 per person for delegates from non-subscribing schools and academies.

BOOK A PLACE: To reserve a place please email your name, school and contact details to: