The challenge | The Ofsted inspection in March 2015 said the key priority was for students to make greater progress. To help achieve this it was suggested that the school ‘improve the quality of leadership and management’.

The method | Bideford College adopted two leadership development pathways, as well as a third to promote outstanding teaching, in collaboration with other schools in the MAT. Participants in leadership development programmes were asked to share their work in twilight CPD sessions, which created something of a ‘buzz’. The status of the programme caused interest, and in over half of cases led to promotions within the college or MAT. The culture of CPD was shifted and there was a more aspirational definition of staff development. A parallel programme for senior leaders has strengthened their sense of shared ethos and common purpose, and good practice was now shared with a wider group of schools across the MAT.

The impact | The programmes have grown in popularity each year, and a place on these is an aspiration for those seeking additional responsibilities. In a subsequent Ofsted inspection, the report noted that “Middle leaders are ambitious and highly skilled. They have a clear understanding of the improvements that need to be made.” They also noted, “Middle leaders are developing the curriculum quickly in their subject areas. This is leading to rapid improvement in the quality of teaching.” The programme had a halo effect that brought others along, creating a benchmark for others in terms of defining professional standards and asserting an ethos.

Contact | Dr Bruce Butt