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Become a confident school leader

Enhance your teaching career with our School Leadership Pathway

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Become a confident school leader

Our nationally accredited School Leadership Pathway is designed to help you to develop as a talented leader at every level, equipping you with the skills and qualifications to deliver the strategic improvements needed for your school.

At Teach First, we recognise our responsibility to support teachers not just through their initial training, but across their whole teaching careers. And we share this responsibility with our community of schools, working in partnership to create better environments for teachers to stay and thrive where they are most needed.

Almost a third of teachers
Quit the state sector within five years of qualifying, citing excessive workload & system changes as reasons.
Nine out of ten teachers
Say leadership development opportunities would increase their likelihood of remaining at their school.
Developing leadership skills
Build on leadership skills and behaviours, and continue to make improvements throughout your teaching career.
Find the right pathway
Establish a clear career path in school leadership that supports you to thrive and progress in your school.

About the Teach First School Leadership Pathway

Building on 15 years of experience delivering the 'Outstanding' Leadership Development Programme, we want to accelerate improvements in schools serving disadvantaged communities. Our community of over 7,000 ambassadors have told us they need greater support to progress their careers in teaching, whilst also feeling better equipped to address the unique challenges that school leaders face. We firmly believe that targeted continuing leadership development is the best way to achieve this.

The School Leadership Pathway is designed with the specific needs and time constraints of teachers in mind. It provides access to fully funded*, research-based leadership training and the Department for Education's National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) to support you throughout your teaching career. Each accredited qualification will support your development as a highly skilled leader to effectively plan, implement and review the interventions that will have the greatest impact for your pupils. 

Applications for the School Leadership Pathway are open between 26 June and 31 July 2018.

Mulberry School for girls inside indoors classroom teacher teaching IT Information

Who is the School Leadership Pathway for?

The School Leadership Pathway is available to Teach First ambassadors working in non-selective state schools in England and Wales. It consists of three different programmes tailored to support individuals throughout the various stages of their career in teaching and leadership, including: 

  • Middle Leadership programme – for teachers who are, or are aspiring to be, a middle leader with responsibility for leading a team.
  • Senior Leadership programme – for school leaders that are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities.
  • Headship programme – for school leaders that are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school.

Department for Education Accredited Training Provider

What are the benefits?

By choosing to join our School Leadership Pathway, you will:

  • Gain a Department for Education-accredited National Professional Qualification (NPQ) with fully funded programme fees*.
  • Receive evidence-informed content led by experts, with a clear focus on how educational equality can be improved.
  • Learn flexibly through a blended learning approach, designed to suit the busy working lives of teachers and school leaders.
  • Access one-to-one support from an experienced mentor or coach.
  • Get free membership to the Chartered College of Teaching.

*Check the FAQs for further information relating to eligibility.

Key programme dates

  • The National Kick-off Event in the week commencing 22 October will be a one-day, day-time event. 
  • Subsequent face-to-face events will take place in the weeks commencing 17 December 2018, 4 March 2019, 1 July 2019, 23 September 2019 and 4 November 2019. 
  • These five events will run regionally, in three locations where we have received the most interest – currently Birmingham, Leeds/Manchester and London. 
  • All learners are expected to attend all of the face-to-face events as part of the programme.

Time commitments

The estimated number of hours per stage on the programme, excluding face-to-face events, is shown below:

Stage of learning Resource engagement Virtual peer and mentor engagement
Diagnose   10 hours  3 hours
Build  10 hours 3 hours
Embed and Drive 5 hours  5 hours
Sustain 5 hours

3 hours

Programme expectations

It is important you make your headteacher aware that:

  • Completing this programme will involve 6 days away from school, spread over 13 months.

  • Any travel costs associated with the programme will not be reimbursed by Teach First.

  • The school is responsible for reimbursing the learner’s travel to face to face events 

  • The school is responsible for re arranging timetables/cover for lessons the learner will miss in order to attend the face to face events

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose the Teach First School Leadership Pathway?

In addition to training and developing 11,000 teachers and future leaders in schools serving disadvantaged communities since 2003, we've supported 800 of our former trainees to access professional leadership training since 2015.

Our experience in this field means that we’re experts in training and developing teachers, leaders and aspiring leaders working in the schools that need them the most. Delivering our own School Leadership Pathway enables us to respond to your calls for even greater development opportunities, with a nationally-recognised qualification.

Am I eligible for the School Leadership Pathway?

We welcome applications from previous School Pathway applicants – the accredited School Leadership Pathway is a new offer to ambassadors, with different content which has previously been offered on the School Pathway.

Our School Leadership Pathway is aimed at Teach First ambassadors working in non-selective state schools in England and Wales. During the pilot year 2018/19, it will not be available to leaders from schools outside of the Teach First ambassador community.

This allows us to ensure we make the most effective use of our resources for the communities we support and target schools and pupils in areas of greatest need. We are therefore unable to accept applications from individuals working in private, grammar or international schools.

However, we recognise that a school leader might prefer their staff to attend the same programme for the sake of consistency. Should a school that employs a Teach First ambassador wish to place another member of staff on the programme, then we will consider these applications on a self-funded model. Information about pricing can be found in the ‘Will I be funded?’ section below.

Teach First Ambassadors in Wales – we recognise that many people working in Wales wish to complete National Professional Qualification (NPQs) as a way of re-skilling if they are returning to England. The NPQs as part of each programme are intended for those working in the English education system, but we also welcome applications from eligible ambassadors working in schools in Wales.

Will I be funded?

Thanks to our generous supporters, each programme including the qualification, will be fully funded for all Teach First ambassadors teaching in non-selective state schools to support their continuing professional development. Due to limited funding, we are not able to fund teachers outside of the Teach First ambassador community during the pilot year.

Should a school that employs a Teach First ambassador wish to place another member of staff on the programme, then we will consider these applications on a self-funded model. The pricing for non-ambassador staff is as follows:

- Middle Leadership programme - £2131 +VAT
- Senior Leadership programme - £2131 +VAT
- Headship programme - £2851 +VAT

There is £10 million of national funding available to support teachers and leaders working in opportunity areas and category 5 and category 6 areas to take the new NPQs. This funding will cover full programme costs, and all teachers and leaders in these areas are eligible (provided you have not already studied for the equivalent NPQ). Teach First will complete the scholarship funding process on your behalf.

How will I be supported?

Each programme of the School Leadership Pathway spans 15-18 months, with flexible learning via our online platform and face-to-face events. This structured learning will also help you to further develop key leadership behaviours, including resilience, adaptability and personal drive required to succeed as a leader in a challenging context.

You will receive expert support from your mentor through 1:1 and group interactions. Strong decision-making skills are vital for leadership. Through research, sharing of best practice and working with colleagues, you will become a confident leader with a strong understanding of what works best within your school community. During the final six months, you will finish and reflect on your 'school improvement project'; the basis of your final assessment.

What qualifications will I receive?

Teach First is one of a select group of national providers who are accredited by the Department for Education to design, deliver and assess the following National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for school leadership:

- NPQ for Middle Leadership (NPQML)

- NPQ for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

- NPQ for Headship (NPQH)

The National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for school leadership are widely-recognised as the foremost qualifications in the education sector for current and aspiring leaders. Over 30,000 professional learners across England undertook NPQs between 2012 and 2016.

How can I apply for the School Leadership Pathway?

More specific information about the application process and course schedule will be made available on this web page from June 2018. To receive updates, please submit an enquiry using this web form

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