Ambition Institute responds to NAHT’s ‘About Time’ report on middle leaders

Oct. 21, 2019

Ambition Institute welcomes the publication of NAHT Edge’s important report on life as a middle leader in England’s schools.

We are proud to support middle leaders through our programmes, and believe that investment in developing middle leader expertise is crucial to driving school improvement. 

We were particularly interested, therefore, in the following findings in NAHT’s report: 

Very few middle leaders report that they received induction training when stepping into the role for the first time. 

  • Less than a third of respondents said they received any form of induction training when they first took on a leadership position in their school. This raises the question of how well prepared middle leaders are for taking on such roles, especially when it is likely to be the first experience of leadership for many teachers.

A significant proportion of middle leaders have received no CPD relating to their leadership role during the last 12 months. 

  • Just over 40% of middle leaders said they had received no CPD training relating to their leadership role in the last 12 months.
  • Over a third reported that the amount of CPD they had received had decreased over the last three years. This is consistent with previous NAHT survey findings and with the findings of the National Audit Office (NAO, 2017).

40% of middle leaders do not hold a formal leadership qualification. However, those who do feel it has had a positive impact on their work.

  • Only a quarter of respondents said they had completed the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) and 40% said they had not undertaken any form of formal, accredited leadership training.
  • On a more positive note, the significant majority (81%) of middle leaders who do hold a leadership qualification such as the NPQML or the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) said that it had a positive impact on their ability to carry out their leadership role.

Tom Rees, Executive Director of School Leadership at Ambition Institute, said: 

“NAHT’s report shines a light on the vital role that middle leaders play in our schools – and highlights how much more there is to be done to help these educators do their best work. 

“Leadership is complex, especially when you’re stepping up to it for the first time. That’s why it’s so important that we make the investment in evidence-informed training and support for middle leaders as they take their first steps beyond classroom teaching. 

“By helping middle leaders to develop expertise in the roles, we can begin to address the challenges, highlighted in NAHT’s report, around job satisfaction, retention and work/life balance. Crucially, we will also support these educators to continually raise the quality of education for the pupils that they serve.”


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