In conversation with Teach Secondary, Dan Belcher, Senior Education Lead at SSAT, who oversees the design and delivery of our leadership development programmes, explains how SSAT can help you to unlock your school’s latent leadership talent
As a national organisation, SSAT helps schools stay informed and connected to each other– something that’s especially important now. We recognise and celebrate the successes of schools, students and teachers, and share best practice across the SSAT network. Our professional development programmes help teachers and leaders at all levels reach the goals they’ve set for themselves, their students and staff.
Most recently, we’ve revised our national ‘Stepping Up to Senior Leadership’ programme, having previously delivered a version where individual participants would attend national events. Much of the core content remains familiar, but we’ve placed greater emphasis on certain areas, such as leading complex change, in response to the increasing need for leaders to be adaptable and able to manage a range of difficult challenges.
The scope of leadership responsibility has also grown in recent years, particularly in finance and HR, with leaders now expected to possess an understanding of those areas earlier in their leadership journeys than might have been the case previously.
SSAT-accredited delivery partnerships
The main change in Stepping Up is that this programme has now adopted the same delivery partner model used for our ‘Leaders for the Future’ and ‘Middle Leadership’ programmes. Under this system, all programme modules are designed as independent, two-hour blocks that can be delivered by schools themselves after hours, or as a combined half- or full-day session. The school receives all the material and content they need to ‘train their trainer’. This trained individual can then contextualise and personalise the programme content to suit the needs of their colleagues. It’s an approach that gives schools some welcome flexibility and can be incorporated into online CPD arrangements with relative ease. Learn more about becoming a delivery partner and join schools throughout the country who are delivering their own training.
Increasing demand for virtual training
Like many, we’ve recently made some significant moves towards online delivery of our services. Many programmes have transferred over quite easily, particularly those employing the ‘train the trainer’ model. We’ve also been able to substitute a large proportion of our face-to-face training by blending pre-recorded activities, resources and questions with live sessions that allow for follow-up queries and Q&A sessions. Even within their own schools, many members of staff currently aren’t able to meet in groups, and may therefore need their training to be delivered virtually across their setting, MAT or local network. The materials we’re able to provide can make that process straightforward.
COVID-19 has created a great deal of uncertainty for everyone and had a huge impact on teaching, staffing and wellbeing. Many leaders will be having to manage various forms of blended learning, while simultaneously providing reassurance and support for their colleagues. On the plus side, however, these difficult times present opportunities for leaders to demonstrate their leadership qualities – their adaptability, resourcefulness and emotional intelligence – and for those efforts to be appreciated.