Laws announces ‘exceptional’ middle leaders secondment plan

“Exceptional” department, subject and year group heads from outstanding schools will be parachuted into challenging schools under plans to raise standards, schools minister David Laws will announce today.

Mr Laws (pictured) will today set out plans for the new programme which will call on 100 managers to apply to spend a year in underperforming schools.

He will claim the secondment of middle leaders will bring strong leadership into challenging schools and provide development opportunities for those teachers taking part.

Mr Laws will say: “We know that strong leadership and high-quality teaching are vital to improving pupil outcomes. That is why we launched the talented leaders initiative last year, placing outstanding headteachers into struggling schools. Today we are announcing a new programme to do the same with outstanding heads of department and subject leaders.

“This new programme will allow schools facing some of the greatest challenges to benefit from the skills, expertise and knowledge of an exceptional middle leader who can drive improvements and raise standards.

“We want to encourage the movement of high-quality middle leaders to the areas which need it most, to help close the attainment gap and build a fairer society in which every child is able to reach their full potential.”

Peter Pendle
Peter Pendle

The 100 teachers will include 30 in the east of England, a move which was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last week.

But concerns have been raised by Peter Pendle (above), who heads up AMiE, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ (ATL) leadership section.

He said: “Good collaborative leadership at all levels is vital in order for schools to improve in a sustainable fashion, but it will extremely difficult to develop given the short space of time these new middle leaders will have.

“We would like to see the initiative properly trialled, including ensuring that the seconding schools don’t suffer by losing exceptional middle leadership and that improvement in participating schools can be sustained beyond the secondment.”

Heath Monk, CEO of The Future Leaders Trust said: “The talented leaders programme is about giving more children a great education. We needed to find exceptional school leaders who will commit to relocating to a new school for three years and I’m happy to say that we have done that. They are skilled and passionate about seeing their students succeed.

“It has also meant finding the schools that need more support and we’ve been working alongside local authorities and academy trusts to identify them.

“We are now matching our talented leaders participants with these schools, and it’s great to see that our first talented leaders programme head has already been appointed. The work of school improvement is challenging but by sharing practice and supporting each other we intend to transform every school that is part of talented leaders.”

The government will also announce today that it is increasing the value of the school-to-school support fund with an additional £10m of funding for 2015, taking the total investment to £20m over two years.


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