Case study

Creating a leaner and more effective senior leadership team

The headmaster at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School re-allocates management responsibilities to create a leaner, more effective senior leadership team.

Image: Queen Elisabeth Grammar School sign

Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith is a busy, happy and successful secondary academy with 850 pupils.

After both deputy heads at the school announced they were to retire at the end of the school year, headmaster Paul Buckland wanted to see if he could make his future senior leadership team (SLT) even more efficient.

Mr Buckland reviewed the roles and responsibilities of middle leaders and looked for potential to increase capacity and staff development throughout the team. The financial constraints facing the school contributed to the decision to adopt a leaner, broader-based leadership team.

The existing SLT agreed a restructured allocation. This merged some responsibilities and distributed others to those with existing teaching and learning responsibilities. Examples of changes included:

  • moving responsibility for admissions from a deputy head role to a new assistant head and head of year 7
  • making the head of year 7 a fixed position rather than a rolling one through key stage 3 to develop capacity in the role
  • extending responsibility for citizenship, the Extended Project Qualification and Arts Award away from the SLT and, where possible, allocating free time rather than a teaching and learning responsibility payment for these roles

A key outcome of the reorganisation was replacing one deputy head with a more junior assistant headteacher position. This saves the school more than £40,000 a year in staff costs as an internal appointment was possible and staffing backfill was minimal. The new SLT will also be more effective and efficient with clearer ownership of responsibilities.

On this move, Mr Buckland said: “Two valued and respected members of the team retiring initially felt like a blow. But I was able to turn it into an opportunity. It provided me with a chance to restructure my team to meet the changing needs of the school. It also helped to create continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities for SLT and others keen to progress.”

The school filled the post of assistant headteacher internally because the CPD programme at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School encourages colleagues to push for advancement and to take opportunities when they arise.

If you would like to find out more, you can contact Paul Buckland.

Published 26 May 2016