SSAT in-school Middle Leadership training

Effective middle leaders are essential in translating your school’s vision into practice, implementing school improvement on the ground. Based on our extensive experience in middle leader development, this training is tailored towards developing your existing middle leaders into a high performing team.

Download the SSAT Middle Leadership brochure



Tailor your training by selecting from our 11 modules. Each module takes two hours to complete and is delivered by an experienced SSAT trainer with extensive in-school experience. You’ll also get a range of supporting resources and post-training tasks and activities to ensure you can embed the learning in practice.

1. Vision, values and the moral purpose

This module will enable the participants to consider their own vision for their area and how this aligns with the school’s vision and priorities. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Understand what a vision is and why it’s important
  • Reflect on the values and moral purpose that guide and direct their behaviours
  • Be able to anchor and sustain their leadership practice through connecting to their moral purpose
  • Have a deeper understanding of moral leadership and its implications for practice

2. Leading and managing innovation and change

This module explores the complex issues involved in leading and managing change. It includes practical tools for effective project management as well as how to handle the emotional aspect of change. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Have reflected on the theory and practice of leading change in order to lead more effectively
  • Have considered the implications for middle leaders of leading in a period of constant change
  • Understand the fundamentals of project management
  • Have reflected on the importance of innovation for strategic improvement – ‘doing things differently in order to do them better’
  • Apply their learning to leading their school improvement project

3. Managing resources and risks

This module explores the important leadership responsibilities of managing resources and risks. This includes effective deployment of financial, staffing and educational resources, safeguarding and ensuring pupil and staff well-being. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Understand key enablers in efficiently and effectively deploying resources to enhance pupil progress, including curriculum planning, project planning, forecasting and staffing
  • Have considered the issues and impact of workload and well-being
  • Be familiar with the legal requirements and statutory guidance for safeguarding and health and safety in schools
  • Identify and mitigate risks in plans using a risk register
  • Evidence their ability to manage a budget, project plan and use a risk register

4. Data analysis for performance and progress

This module develops participants’ management and understanding of performance and pupil progress data at individual and group level, equipping them with practical tools and techniques for analysis. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Be familiar with statistical and data analysis concepts (e.g. confident intervals, statistical significance, sampling, correlation and causation)
  • Understand how to evaluate progress, identify trends and define team priorities
  • Deploy a range of techniques and tools to manage and analyse performance and pupil progress data (e.g. databases, spreadsheets, formulae and graphs)
  • Use data to monitor particular individuals and groups of learners at risk of underachievement, including disadvantaged learners
  • Provide documentary evidence of raw data analysis

5. Evidence based teaching and learning

This module encourages participants to reflect on the importance of curriculum design and developing excellent teaching rooted in evidence. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Have analysed research into pedagogical approaches shown to have impact, drawing implications for practice
  • Understand the principles of curriculum design and different models
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum on offer and how effectively this meets the needs of learners
  • Have engaged with the research on models of pupil assessment and identified how this should inform current and future practice
  • Be familiar with the Ofsted handbook for inspection and the clarification of inspection requirements in relation to lesson planning, marketing, feedback and collection of pupil performance data

6. Leading strategic improvement

This module focuses on the need for a strategic approach to leading improvement. Building on module two, participants will plan for the strategic development of priorities emerging from the data analysis of pupil progress and performance. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Have decided the focus and begun planning for their school improvement project, lasting at least two terms, to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment (part A) and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching (part B)
  • Engage with the research evidence on improving progress and attainment, including that of disadvantaged groups and provision for those with particular needs
  • Have learned about the graduated approach to supporting SEND pupils, as set out in the SEND Code of Practice
  • Be familiar with sources of research such as the EEFs teaching and learning toolkit
  • Understand the principles of action research

7. Developing your leadership approach

This module looks at developing leadership approaches to improve effectiveness. It includes the importance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence as well as exploring leadership characteristics and styles. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Have reflected on their own personalities, characteristics and behaviours so that they become more self-aware
  • Have reflected further on the seven leadership behaviours; commitment, collaboration, personal drive, resilience, awareness, integrity and respect
  • Be familiar with the research on emotional intelligence and understand the impact of behaviour on their teams
  • Have explored the impact of different leadership styles and a situational leadership approach
  • Have considered the importance of communication and communication styles in leadership, including presenting challenging messages positively
  • Understand how their leadership contributes to the organisational culture

8. Building a high-performance team

This module looks at the key ingredients to building a high-performance team. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Have explored characteristics of high performing teams and dysfunctional teams
  • Have reflected on how failures can become powerful learning opportunities
  • Have evaluated the effectiveness of teams they lead and considered how they can improve performance
  • Be equipped to support a culture that builds strong teams and shares good practice

9. Support and challenge – holding yourself and others to account

This module addresses the role of accountability and performance management. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Be familiar with the Teachers’ Standards and the Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development
  • Understand their role in setting the team culture and expectations
  • Have effective strategies and systems for holding others to account, line management and evaluating performance
  • Identify appropriate professional development opportunities for themselves and their team
  • Have strategies for managing challenging conversations

10. Developing yourself and others

This module focuses on the need for a growth mindset. We all have the potential to get better and learn new skills. Prioritising both our own development and the development of those we lead is essential in any healthy organisation. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Identify their own and others professional development needs
  • Have considered a variety of professional development activities and their cost-effectiveness
  • Support all members of their team with appropriate targeted opportunities for professional development
  • Be able to evaluate the impact of professional development on teacher development and pupil outcomes
  • Have considered a progression pathway for themselves and their teams

11. Collaboration and communication

This module recognises the importance of collaboration and working in partnership. This includes at individual, team, school and system level. By the end of this module, participants will:

  • Have reflected on the barriers and benefits to effective collaboration, partnership and team working
  • Have an understanding of the research evidence that underpins successful collaboration
  • Have considered stakeholder engagement, within and beyond the school – including parents
  • Have reflected on the importance of communication in achieving engagement and commitment
  • Have a greater awareness of wider networks of support including those at national level