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 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 ten months and five events, the national programme comprises:

  • Event one: a two-day residential launch based in an established MAT (May 2018)
  • Events two and three: two one-day case study visits to MATs (July and October 2018)
  • Event four: one day at the SSAT National Conference 2018 (December 2018)
  • Event five: final case study MAT visit (February 2019)

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

What each event will cover

Event one 

Date: 2-3 May 2018

Venue: Olympus Academy Trust

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: July 2018 (date and venue to be announced)

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: October 2018 (date and venue to be announced)

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: December 2018 (5 December 2018, ICC Birmingham)

SSAT National Conference 2018: Pure imagination

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.

Event five: February 2019 (date and venue to be announced)

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


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.

Start date

2-3 May 2018


10 months


Five events, including a residential launch and one-day attendance at SSAT’s National Conference in 2018

Ideal for

Executive Headteachers or aspiring Executive Headteachers


Early bird price:
Members: £1,795
Non-members: £2,695

Standard SSAT member price: £1,895
Standard non-member price: £2,845
Prices exclusive of VAT

Interested in executive coaching from an experienced executive head?
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