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Middle leaders

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by at90, Apr 30, 2018.


What type of support would be useful to you as a middle leader?

Poll closed May 7, 2018.
  1. Monitoring data and developing assessment

    0 vote(s)
  2. Feeding back to colleagues

    0 vote(s)
  3. Monitoring books (subject specific)

    0 vote(s)
  4. Monitoring planning/scheme of learning

    0 vote(s)
  5. Lesson observations

    0 vote(s)
  6. Motivating colleagues

    2 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. at90

    at90 New commenter


    As part of a project for university, I’m looking at what middle leaders within schools would have found useful when they started as a middle leader. If you could have a look at the options in the poll, or give any suggestions that I haven’t thought of yet, that would be fantastic. This is open to all middle leaders, but would be particularly helpful if people who have sort of ‘fallen into’ the role of middle leader could let me know what would have helped them at the start. Equally, if anyone has recently become a middle leader and is thinking that certain things would be helpful to them now then that would be brilliant.

    Thanks :)
  2. dts

    dts Occasional commenter

    By "support", do you mean training in how to carry out the various tasks in your poll? If so then I would say that most middle leaders will need guidance in most of those areas - we shouldn't assume that because a teacher knows how to control a class they also know how to manage colleagues.

    I was particularly fortunate that I had a member of SLT who had recently stepped up from the role I took over. We had a good relationship and so they were able to give me extensive mentoring throughout my first couple of years. All new middle leaders should have an experienced colleague as a mentor, in my opinion.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    How to prioritise was what I needed when I was first a middle leader.

    Most of the above didn't exist and actually it would be great to teach middle leaders how to lead effectively without doing any except the last of your list.
    dts likes this.
  4. dts

    dts Occasional commenter

    Yes, this is true - it's a very data-management heavy list.
  5. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Sign of the times. Out of the 6 "leadership" functions listed, 5 are clearly management focused. Arguably all 6.
  6. at90

    at90 New commenter

    That's true, I thought pretty much the same as I wrote it. However, I've asked a few people in person and those were the common themes and I didn't want to reject their responses. Out of interest, what sort of things would you go for as more of a leadership focus? It's good to get a range of views.
  7. at90

    at90 New commenter

    I'd agree with you. A sign of the times but also a sign of different school cultures I think - I suppose (hope!) that some schools are more leadership focused over management. I guess it's also about what middle leaders think they need themselves and if they're in a culture where it's data heavy, then that's what they'll feel they need help with? I don't know - just generating ideas at this stage. The list so far is just some ideas that have been given to me from others I've spoken to but is by no means extensive, so any others are more than welcome!
  8. dts

    dts Occasional commenter

    You might want to have a look at Bennett et al from 2007 (lit review on middle leaders) or Jarvis from 2008 - a case study of middle leaders in selective schools. Otherwise there isn't a huge amount out there.

    I think the temptation for many middle leaders, especially early in their career, is to concentrate on the administrative and data-focussed side of their job. It's easier to prove to your manager that you've been doing things that way, and as you've discovered it's the first thing people think of.

    I'd want to add representing / protecting colleagues in dialogue with SLT, encouraging the sharing of good practice (not the same thing as observing lessons), and being really proactive in encouraging good behaviour from students.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Maybe look at what is covered in various middle leader training courses?
    There are many, many ones around.

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