Aim: To develop leadership which focuses on the quality of teaching and learning, with responsibility for outcomes and a greater impact on raising standards.

Background: The school was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in 2011, however the newly appointed principal considered there was a sense of complacency. There was no consistency in the setting of homework or in the marking of books and there were no mechanisms for subject leaders to compare and share their practices with other departments. Many leaders were capable teachers and administrators, but appeared unwilling or ill equipped to challenge underperforming staff.


Year 1:

  • New mission statement published, built around ’inspiring excellence, fulfilling potential’
  • Governor committees restructured and governor visits focused on strategic priorities
  • New performance management policy and guidelines introduced
  • Use of videos and joint observations to establish new benchmarks for classroom practice and promote consistency of judgements. Drop-in observations introduced. Middle leaders expected to observe for the first time. Regular, rigorous line management meetings for middle leaders.
  • Core team set up to monitor progress in KS4 and decide interventions.
  • New format for a School Development Plan and the introduction of departmental development plans linked to it.

Year 2:

  • Two new vice principals were appointed. Heads of year and student support officers took up post for the first time. There was improved and more consistent behaviour management and the beginnings of better buy-in to the culture of the school as a place of work.
  • Bespoke Continuing Professional Development was introduced including in-house programmes for teacher improvement.
  • Achievement evenings, Easter revision schools and parent forums introduced.

Year 3:

  • New assessment and marking policy launched. Homework timetable implemented. New uniform implemented. New performance-related pay policy implemented with moderation of pay recommendations for consistency.
  • Quality assurance processes introduced: work scrutiny, learning walks, student voice feedback and data collected centrally from drop-in observations and reported back to staff.
  • The school became a strategic partner in the Discovery Teaching School Alliance. Three specialist leaders in education (SLEs) appointed. The school joined the PiXL club (Partners in excellence).

Evidence: Staff surveys, quality assurance data.

Impact: Staff felt more accountable and there was a significant change of gear throughout the whole organisation. The results of the quality assurance processes showed there was a demonstrable improvement in marking and in the quality of teaching in general. The student body was better engaged because teaching was good or better in a larger proportion of lessons.

Reflections: There is no doubt that leadership success is dependent upon team building and the ability to attract the right people with whom we can build a shared vision. The school is undoubtedly better than it was, though there is a long way still to go to achieve the high levels of consistency that are required before the badge of ‘Outstanding’ can become a realistic prospect.

Contact: Andrew Goulding, Principal,