Training future leaders


Shenley Brook End School has opened a Leadership and Training Centre to support leadership development across the area. Chris Holmwood explains.

Three years ago, when my headteacher, Glen Martin, stood up and said “I want this school to become a school of leaders”, I would never have predicted what was about to happen.

But at the end of September, Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes welcomed Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), to open our new Leadership and Training Centre (LTC).

The philosophy of growing leadership at every level has had a demonstrable impact upon our school community, as can be seen in the step-change in our staff development, creative teaching, independent learning, student engagement and results.

The school achieved Teaching School status this year and Investors in People has specifically commented upon the strength of our leadership culture.

The LTC is an expression of the school’s commitment to growing successful people across and beyond the school. It aims to encourage and support schools to develop communities where people are:

  • Successfully leading – helping schools grow successful leadership at every level.

  • Successfully learning – helping schools grow successful learning at every level.

  • Successfully living – helping schools grow people to live successful lives.

In practical terms, the centre will make a contribution to the training and development of school leadership through accredited and bespoke leadership programmes across Milton Keynes and beyond.

This is something we have been doing for a while and, through the centre and as a Teaching School, we now have the opportunity to support many more schools.

The LTC aims to provide training and support at local and national level to teachers at all stages in their career. 

The LTC is currently offering the National College’s Middle Leadership Development Programme and providing National Professional Qualification for Headship development support. 

We will shortly be delivering the National College’s new modular curriculum at middle, senior and headship level (see the National College's recent SecEd blog for more on this) as well as supporting ASCL’s Emerging Leaders network. 

An online Master’s-accredited middle leadership course is also being designed with university support. Other programmes include teaching and learning, coaching, curriculum design and school improvement.

The LTC draws upon the strong experience across a successful school, which includes a National Leader of Education, Specialist Leaders of Education and advanced skills teachers. We lead the Creative Maths Network in Milton Keynes in association with the National Centre for the Excellence of Teaching in Mathematics as well as other subject networks.

The LTC will provide leadership-focused or subject-specific opportunities to use the school as a high quality training and workshop environment. 

The LTC is already providing school improvement support and leading middle and senior leadership training at regional level.

I believe that for teachers, leadership begins in the classroom, so we no longer talk about classroom management but classroom leadership. 

We have established a framework which supports teachers in moving from leading learning to leading within a team, then leading a team and then leading beyond a team.

The aspiration is to enable teachers to grow in their skills and confidence to develop their leadership potential and contribute to the creation of an educational climate that makes it possible for young people to do the same.

The impact of the leadership culture at Shenley Brook End has been clear. 

The investment in development and the encouragement to be imaginative and inventive is nurturing a deep involvement from staff, who are engaged and feel ownership of what they do. It is about motivating through challenge and innovation and establishing teams of people who deliver to a consistent agenda for excellence.

The next phase for the development of the LTC is to establish its research aspect more fully, which given the amount of action research that the synergy between the LTC and the school can facilitate, should prove an exciting opportunity.

It was great to have Mr Lightman opening the LTC on September 27. He spent the day at the school, meeting with senior and middle leaders and with the school’s Student Cabinet.

He said: “This is about ensuring the best possible education for young people. 

“International research shows that the quality of teaching is the single most important factor in making sure that young people succeed at school. That’s why a centre like this is so important.”

  • Chris Holmwood is principal of the Leadership and Training Centre and senior deputy headteacher at Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes.

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CAPTION: Leading the way: Shenley Brook End students at the launch of the Leadership and Training Centre.


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