Executive Headteachers programme

Practical support for school leaders in a multi-academy trust

If you’re an executive headteacher or considering executive headship you need to be fully prepared for the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities the role brings. At SSAT, we’ve been equipping leaders for the challenges and opportunities of executive headship for over a decade.

The SSAT Executive Headteachers programme is practical and hands-on, consisting of four case study visits to established MATs in differing contexts and stages of growth. By comparing models and learning from their journeys, you can chart your own course for the schools you lead. The programme is supported by insights from SSAT education experts bringing you the wider national picture, resources and updates.

More than 500 school leaders have completed the SSAT Executive Headteachers programme, many of who are now recognised system leaders locally, regionally and nationally.

Read about the impact of the programme on the Sidney Stringer multi-academy trust and their CEO, Wendy Tomes.

Programme overview

Delivered over 12 months and 5 events, the national programme comprises:

  • Event one: a two-day residential launch based in an established MAT (January 2020)
  • Events two and three: two one-day case study visits to MATs (Spring/Summer 2020)
  • Event four: final case study MAT visit (Autumn 2020)
  • Event five: one day at the SSAT National Conference 2020 (December 2020)

Each event will include pre-reading and practical resources, such as excerpts from SSAT’s Governance Toolkit – an essential guide to effective governance in multi-academy trusts.

What each event will cover

Event one

Date: 29-30 January 2020
Venue: Olympus Academy Trust, Bristol

A two-day residential including your first MAT case study: The role of the Executive Headteacher and multi-academy trusts. As an optional extra, you can choose to bring your chair of governors.

This event will combine SSAT expert inputs on aspects of MATs and the Executive Head role with contributions from the host MAT, providing national and local perspectives. Including the opportunity for discussion, networking and practical activities.

Key themes:

  • Multi-academy trusts in the educational landscape – where are we now?
  • What do we know about successful MATs?
  • What is the role of the Executive Headteacher?
  • Governance and the Trust Board
  • Establishing and communicating the vision, values and mission
  • Moral leadership – tensions and challenges for Executive Headteachers
  • Financial sustainability
  • MAT case study 1

Event two: Spring/Summer 2020

MAT case study 2: setting up and growth.

Key themes:

  • Capacity building and central services
  • Individual school and MAT identity
  • Autonomy and alignment
  • Strategy and growth
  • Risk
  • Due diligence

Event three: Spring/Summer 2020

MAT case study 3: School improvement in differing and challenging contexts

Key themes:

  • School improvement journeys – pace and sustainability
  • Getting the basics in place
  • Curriculum
  • Improving teaching and learning
  • Data, reporting and assessment
  • Quality assurance, accountability and performance management

Event four: Autumn 2020

MAT case study 4: Leadership and talent development

Key themes:

  • Addressing leadership challenges
  • Leading through others
  • Unlocking and developing talent
  • Succession planning
  • School to school collaboration
  • Deploying resources across the MAT

Event five: December 2020
SSAT National Conference 2020

Join day one of the SSAT National Conference and find out how to embed a culture or creativity across your MAT, discover what innovative pedagogy looks like, and celebrate the transformative power of education.


Express interest

In order to showcase the best variety of leadership practice and school contexts all of our programmes are run at venues across the country. For example, recent programmes have included venues based in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton, Chester and Coventry. The programme is also subject to change dependent on the needs of delegates.

Delegates are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses for all events apart from on two-day residentials, where accommodation for the interim night will be paid for.

The SSAT Governance Toolkit – Vision and strategy excerpt
Claim your free download

Express interest

Programme launch

29-30 January 2020


12 months


Five events, including a residential launch and one-day attendance at SSAT’s National Conference in 2020

Ideal for

Executive Headteachers or aspiring Executive Headteachers


Members: £1,895
Non-members: £2,463.50

Prices exclusive of VAT

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