Summary of "The New Middle Leader's Handbook"

The New Middle Leader's Handbook

Chapter 1

Applying for a middle-leadership role

This chapter will consider the role of middle leaders in an educational setting and explore the skills and attributes that make a successful middle leader. Readers will be encouraged to reflect honestly on the relevant experience they have and areas they may need to develop.

The chapter will also guide readers through the process of choosing the roles for which to apply, application and interview. The chapter will contain checklists for letters of application and interview preparation, along with practical advice on tasks potential applicants may be asked to carry out during the recruitment process. There will also be sample interview questions and tasks that will enable the reader to prepare for an interview.

Chapter 1 will also offer practical advice and tips as well as reflective exercises and questions designed to enable readers to think critically and reflectively about their strengths, achievements and motivations. The chapter will also consider career development and bridging the gap between middle and senior leadership and readers will be encouraged to consider their longer-term ambitions.


Chapter 2 August

Creating your vision and mapping out the year ahead

This chapter will discuss the importance of a clear vision and show readers how they can create their own meaningful vision that supports the ideas and ethos of the organisation they work for and that is, at the same time, their own vision for the department or curriculum area that they are, or will be, leading. The chapter will provide the opportunity for the reader to create a "Getting to Know Your School" plan. Practical exercises will support readers in creating their vision.

This chapter will also examine the importance of strategic and operational planning. Readers will be shown how to effectively map and plan the journey of their team, their students and of their leadership over the coming year. The chapter will begin with information-gathering activities, designed to guide readers through a structured and thorough approach to getting to know their team and others integral to the success of their new role. The chapter will then look at results analysis and the key questions the reader may need to ask about achievement, progression and teaching and learning. There will be practical exercises designed to enable the reader to map and plan in a creative but evidence-based manner. The chapter will also offer advice on establishing links within and beyond the organisation and creating an invaluable support network. Additionally, there will be guidance on planning and managing the middle leader's workload, demonstrating the tangible benefits of distributing leadership across a team, as well as managing a faculty's resources.


Chapter 3 September

Developing a personal leadership style and sharing the vision

Looking at different leadership styles, this chapter will encourage readers to examine their own leadership styles and consider the ways in which they influence and lead those in their team. The vision will be central to this chapter and the focus will be on how a new middle leader can lead his or her team towards that vision. Readers will be guided through the process of getting to know their team, their strengths and areas for development. The chapter also discusses what Ofsted describes as outstanding leadership and includes a case study of an outstanding department and its leadership. Finally, the chapter looks at what makes an inspirational leader and how the reader can work towards becoming one.


Chapter 4 October

Leading change, organising people and creating a team

This chapter will look at the inevitability and power of change, what change is and how readers can use and lead change to motivate staff and learners, ensuring sustainable improvement in their department.

This chapter will ask readers to consider how well they know their team and, through practical exercises, will improve their understanding of the individuals that make up the team. The chapter looks at ways of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of individuals and ways to develop them in order to create a motivated and high-performing team. Readers will be guided through the process of creating development plans for the staff in their team, as well as setting performance-management targets. The chapter will consider methods of realising the potential of the range of staff readers may have on their team, such as, NQTs, part-time staff, SLT members, UPS teachers and support staff. Finally, the chapter will look at resistance to change: what causes it and ways to deal with resistance in members of the team.


Chapter 5 November

Innovating in teaching and learning and monitoring the quality of teaching and learning

First, this chapter looks at knowing the quality of teaching and learning in the department. We will discuss the ways in which the reader measures the quality of teaching and learning, who will carry out the measuring and, most importantly, what you do with these measurements.

Next, the chapter explores the systems the reader can put in place to ensure the continued improvement of teaching and learning. As well as ways of sharing good practice and sharing to innovate, the chapter gives practical advice on planning for improvement in teaching and learning, including lesson observations, performance-management reviews and target setting.

The chapter will provide advice and practical exercises designed to enable the reader to plan effectively for and carry out the following:

    * book and marking scrutiny

    * lesson observations

    * student feedback

    * CPD

    * learning walks

    * year group reviews

    * learning and progress reviews

    * moderation and standardisation

    * stakeholder views.


Chapter 6 December

Dealing with data

This chapter asks what the reader does with data, and explains the practical uses of data to enhance teaching and learning, ensure student progress and achievement, and plan strategically. The emphasis will be on ensuring the faculty tracks the progress of students accurately and efficiently, and will guide the reader in the effective handling of data, cutting through the fog to help new middle leaders manage the timely collection, monitoring and analysis of data. There will be a series of practical planning tasks that look at creative intervention strategies also, guiding readers on identifying underperformance in their organisation and how to engender a faculty-wide ethos of intervention.


Chapter 7 January

Culture and ethos

This chapter looks at why the ethos of the reader's department is so important and examines different methods of developing and embedding a strong and positive ethos within a team and its learners.

The chapter breaks "ethos" down into four key elements that together contribute to a strong positive ethos: environment; behaviours; expectations and aspirations; and creating a high-profile department. Each section will offer practical advice, case studies and planning activities.

First, the chapter will explore the importance of a number of different approaches to creating a personalised learning environment in order to maximise learning and achievement. The chapter will move on to consider how the behaviour of learners and faculty members affect learning and achievement. Practical tasks will guide the reader through the process of identifying where behaviours are impacting negatively on learning and achievement and then planning strategies for improvement. Finally, the chapter looks at ways of raising the profile of a department. There will be a practical task where the reader can create a long-term plan for profile-raising activities and this section will prepare the reader for a deeper exploration of curriculum enrichment in Chapter 10.


Chapter 8 February

Leading professional development & developing a coaching model

This chapter looks at mentoring and coaching; what they are and how the reader can use various models for different purposes and in a variety of situations. As well as detailed coaching scenarios and case studies, the chapter guides readers through a series of planning tasks that will enable them to plan coaching and mentoring activities that will develop their team. Readers will be guided through tasks that enable them to plan appropriate coaching and mentoring sessions for their team.


Chapter 9 March

Managing meetings and time

In this chapter, the reader will find tips and tasks designed to streamline the day-to-day running of a department and ensure the middle leader and the team use meetings and time effectively. It will demonstrate how to efficiently distribute leadership across a team, allowing everyone to contribute and lead on areas of priority and focus. A guide on how to organise department meetings and planning in advance the emphasis and content of each meeting will also be included here.


Chapter 10 April

Enrichment and community

This chapter will emphasise the importance of engaging with the local community by garnering and sustaining the support of, for example, parents, local businesses, religious and community leaders, charities, council services and other organisations that could help towards realising the faculty vision. Additionally, the significance of a wide and varied enrichment timetable will be discussed and modelled with examples from schools that have proven to be successful. The chapter will show the reader how to measure the impact of such activities as well as how to manage funding and resourcing, and how to involve all staff in creating a rich diet of extra-curricular activities and events.


Chapter 11 May

Preparing for review or inspection

This chapter will take the form of a step-by-step guide to the process of preparation for a review of the department or an external inspection. It will show the reader how to rationalise the evidence base established in chapters five and six to present a full, accurate and positive picture of the faculty. There will be a comprehensive section on how to prepare for meetings with inspectors or senior staff, looking at the questions that will be asked and the evidence needed to answer them. The need to fully prepare the faculty, both in terms of rooms/corridors and staff, will also be addressed, again looking at how a distributed leadership system would assist in a successful inspection.


Chapter 12 June

Designing a creative curriculum

This chapter looks at what makes an outstanding curriculum and the principles of curriculum design. It moves on to explore approaches to creating the department's curriculum. Beginning with who should be involved in creating a curriculum that meets the needs of students, this chapter will guide the reader through the process of planning an innovative curriculum for learners. The chapter will look at planning curriculum content, as well as planning for progress and ensuring assessment opportunities are planned for. The reader will be guided through the process of choosing texts, resources and exam boards and there will be practical tasks that enable readers to ensure that they utilise the knowledge and expertise of their staff. This chapter will also address the issues of personalisation and sustainability.


Chapter 13 July

Long-term strategic planning

The focus of this chapter is reviewing and evaluating the first year using a series of analytical tools. Honest reflection and evaluation of the effectiveness of the leadership is followed by activities to help plan strategically for the coming year. This chapter draws on much of the work undertaken in the previous chapters, for instance curriculum review, pupil intervention and managing meetings, to ensure the reader is fully prepared for a second year in charge. The focus will be on evolution and development, with a chance to reflect carefully on successes and the areas that require improvement.


Chapter 14 August


In the penultimate chapter, the reader will be guided through the process of results day: how to collect and collate results; how to analyse performance of individuals, groups and staff; and how to prepare a comprehensive report on the faculty for senior staff.


Chapter 15 Moving to Senior Leadership

The final chapter will focus the reader on the process of moving into senior leadership, the next natural step for successful middle leaders. It will explore the skills and qualifications required to be part of an effective senior team, advising the reader on the application process, how to approach likely tasks and scenarios, and tips for making an impact in interview.