What’s happening to both the Teaching Schools programme and the idea of National Leaders of Education and of Governance? The DfE faithfully reports the numbers in each of these categories https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-schools-and-system-leadership-monthly-report with reports from September 2019 back to June 2018 on the DfE Website. Earlier reports seems to be archived and are not easy to find.
The DfE notes that Designation rounds for National Leaders of Education and teaching schools closed in May 2018 and designation rounds for National Leaders of Governance closed in May 2017.
The DfE is currently reviewing the current structure of system leadership to ensure the quality of system leadership remains as high as possible. The teaching school hubs test and learn phase, launched in May 2019, builds on the success of the teaching schools programme and is the first part of the department’s plans to review system leadership.
The number of system leaders who are currently designated is actively managed and the department keeps these matters under review.
As a result, it is perhaps not surprising to find that numbers in the different categories have reduced across the board between June 2018 and September 2019 as presumably few new additions have been made to replace those lost for various reasons.
June 2018 September 2019 Change Percentage Change
Schools 668 618 -50 -7%
Schools 835 734 81 -10%
Leaders of 1319 1087 -232 -17%
Leaders of 442 363 -79 -18%
Source DfE publications for relevant months
Probably most worrying is the reduction in National Leaders of Governance. With an education system where governance is a muddle and different schools operate under vastly different rules depending upon whether they are Maintained, Voluntary and Maintained, Stand Alone academies or Free Schools or members of Multi-Academy Trusts, there is a need for leadership that NLG can help provide.
Without the backing of the National College, now fading into little more than a memory, there is a need to provide support and development for leadership and career development the system. It is not clear where the impetus is now coming from. Perhaps the Secretary of State might care to make a keynote speech about this? However, I suspect nothing will happen this side of a general election and it will be anyone’s guess who might be occupying the Minister’s Office in Sanctuary Buildings then.
When I started in teaching in the early 1970s, there was little support for leadership, but it became an issue as the decade progressed, so much so that in 1978 I ran my first leadership course for middle leaders in schools. Sometimes it now feels as if the whole of the work undertaken since then has been discarded, and we are back to a free for all with no clear direction of travel for leadership training, development and support.
No doubt the review of the present structure will make suggestions: they cannot come soon enough in my opinion.