Taking the Middle Leadership Leap

Simi Rai

Saturday, 24 November 2018

You are confident in the classroom, you are on top of your marking, and you have that work-life balance. Could you be ready to take that next step into leadership?

As a teacher, you are a leader in the classroom, but as a middle or senior leader, you become a leader within the school. That said, you don’t have to be an outstanding teacher to become an outstanding leader, but you should be willing to accept greater responsibility and commitment.

Whether you would like to join the pastoral team, become a year leader, or pursue a position in your department, it is vital that you conduct your research first.

Once you have spoken to colleagues in similar leadership positions, and feel competent for the role and its responsibilities, start to think and act like a middle leader.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

Lead by example


For newly qualified teachers and other trainees, you become their role model. Everything you do or say will not be taken lightly, so act professionally at all times and remember the influence you have. However, it is also important that your colleagues find you approachable and feel comfortable asking you for professional advice and guidance.

Opt-in for CPD


If your school offers any leadership or professional development courses, sign yourself up. Any CPD will help equip you with the skills and knowledge to become a high-performing leader within your school. If your school doesn’t offer CPD, DfE offer accredited qualifications like the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership. They last between two academic terms and eighteen months, and train you to become an effective leader.

secondary group and TA

Share good practice


Are you particularly good with behaviour management? Is your curriculum subject knowledge exceptional? Are you a creative lesson planner? Whatever your strength is, remember to share it with your colleagues. Just like our pupils, we each have our own gifts and talents, but as educators it is important that we share good practice with one another. Share your resources and lesson plans, as this will have the greatest impact in other classrooms.

Keep the balance


It is easy to prioritise your duties as a school leader, over those as a classroom leader because you are accountable to the Senior Leadership Team and the staff you lead. However, it is vital that you balance your time in and out of the classroom, as the pupils always come first. It might take some time to master the two responsibilities, but you will get there.

Teaching is all about leading. Leading our pupils, leading our colleagues, leading our seniors. We do it every day in our classrooms, so why not do the same in our schools.

Find your strength, research your position and then take that leap of faith! Isn’t that what we teach our pupils everyday?

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About our Community Expert

Simi Rai
Community Expert

Over 5 years of experience in educational settings throughout London, Madrid and Barcelona. Whilst studying English Literature and Language at King’s College London and the University of North Carolina, she fell in love with her subject - both the study of literature and craft of writing.

After graduating, she completed the Leadership Development Programme with Teach First, whose mission is to provide equality through education, and attained her PGCE in Secondary English at Canterbury Christ Church University. She was then appointed as Deputy Head of English at one of the highest performing schools in England in a London inner-city academy.

Following this, she completed her Leadership and Management MA at University College London (Institute of Education) and became the director of an English Language company based in Barcelona.

Simi is our English Literature and Language Expert.

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