Senior Leadership

Excellence in Practice

A practical exploration of the leadership mind-set, expert domains and strategies needed to lead others, implement change and deliver excellence.

Expressions of Interest for September 2022

We will contact you with more information.

Senior Leadership


As leaders progress to whole school or trust wide roles, the complexity of what success looks like increases. The role of senior leadership is varied. Senior leaders are expected to strategically lead school function, no longer just leading single teams or individuals. They are expected to act as forward-looking visionaries, driving action through others. The new ‘Senior Leadership – Excellence in Practice’ experience will help you navigate the role through a network of support, the latest established research and development, access to the best practice and an opportunity to experience other school contexts. The experience serves to help participants shape a clear vision for their role and getting others on board (influencing upwardly, outwardly and downwardly), being clear about what constitutes good practice and using it. It will also support participants to be effective leaders and managers of people, explore policy and resources as well as offering practical strategies to help plan, motivate, monitor, encourage, challenge through courageous conversations and solve problems. Above all, the programme will give senior leaders the head space to reflect, challenge their thinking and that of others and to engage in a professional network beyond their school and trust.

The ‘Senior Leadership – Excellence in Practice’ is therefore a practical, unique opportunity to learn and reflect alongside peers from within and beyond your Trust/school, hear from expert leaders who have delivered excellence in the broad areas of senior, school and Trust leadership, have the opportunity to visit and learn from other settings and gain the support and guidance from skilled facilitators who are experienced school and MAT leaders. Ultimately, through active engagement with this opportunity, participants will be supported and professionally challenged to become more evidence informed, confident, resilient leaders. The approach will encourage them to develop as self-directed learners who are better able to align the vision of their team with their organisation to contribute to accelerated improvement for children and young people.

Examples of the 2021/22 EIP experience


Who is this experience for?

Aspiring or current senior leaders who have responsibility for leading school/trust improvement through others and delivery of Trust wide strategy and policy.


What you will learn about

The ‘Senior Leadership – Excellence in Practice’ experience has been designed, in conjunction with school and system leaders to be both practical and pragmatic with high quality facilitation and opportunities for participants to network with and gain peer support and challenge. The experience will engage current and aspirant Senior leaders in an exploration of leadership, including:

The Leadership Mindset at Scale

Creating the Conditions for Improvement (self and organisation)
Leading Strategy for Improvement and Impact
Change management, Communication and Decision Making
Leading People across the Organisation
Enabling Excellence, Developing Talent and Courageous Conversations
Leading Curriculum, Learning and Teaching

Championing the Narrative

Leading Relationships
Meeting Needs and Delivering Excellence
Leading Innovation and Change in a VUCA world
Embracing Partnerships, Collaboration and Innovation for the Future

Assessment and Accreditation

This is an innovative, practical leadership experience for busy serving school leaders. Therefore, participants will focus on their own leadership learning through a priority (linked to the school/Trust’s development plan) and they are not required to complete a lengthy written submission or external assessment. However, to add professional challenge and validity, throughout the learning experience, participants will work towards a VIVA presentation. The VIVA is designed to provide an opportunity for participants to outline how they have used the experience and their learning from it to develop their leadership mind-set and how they have strategically applied this to impact positively on young people. The VIVA will be jointly endorsed by Learners First and the participants’ school/Trust and, if in agreement, the learning and impact work will be shared and celebrated across the partnership.


Intended Impact

  • To build participants’ confidence to lead with impact beyond the classroom
  • To learn how to successfully lead a change strategy from inception, planning, implementation and review
  • To develop a professional network of peer to peer support and challenge beyond participants’ current school/MAT
  • To implement effective strategies into every day practice to have a positive impact on school improvement and outcomes for pupils.
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Dates, Times and Delivery Methods

Facilitated sessions will encourage and support participants to consider a range of pertinent areas, drawing on local, national and international best practice and make sense of the wealth of evidence based research out there. This will include: an initial self-assessment (competencies & areas of development), inter-sessional research and activities to put learning into practice, school visits, webinars and face to face networking events, peer support, signposted reading and opportunities for reflection.

Delivered over the academic year through a blended approach including webinars, face to face days, self reflection, reading and schools visits.

The experience will be shaped around the following schedule:



face-to-face days


live webinars





Elective School Visit

Central to the ‘Senior Leadership – Excellence in Practice’ experience is the opportunity to visit another school, similar or different in context to participants’ own setting. This will be arranged in conjunction with Learners First and will enable participants to consider their leadership learning and school priorities in action, with agreed protocols for attendance and follow up. The period for visits will be Spring 1 and Spring 2. (For participants electing to undertake the visit, there is an expectation for them to have the release time agreed by their Headteacher in advance.)

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Programme Cost

£475 per delegate. This is fully funded for participants from schools subscribing to Learners First in 2021/22.

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Who can apply?

The ‘Senior Leadership – Excellence in Practice’ experience has been designed for aspiring/current senior leaders (including those with a remit beyond one school). Participants should have responsibility / accountability for leading school improvement through others and the delivery of school/trust-wide policy.