Thoughts on Developing Teams in Schools

Leadership and Developing Teams

This article on leadership and developing teams was written for my NPQML: Project example here. Since then I have completed both the NPQSL and NPQH. Developing teams and teaching staff in my school is my remit. I have reflected on the importance of training leaders at all levels to lead a team. This is especially important to deal with the post-covid challenges. You can the transcript of my leading a team training here.

Leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning education quote

Developing Teams as a School Leader

If we acknowledge the validity of the Leithwood et al statement “School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning.” And that the aim of any school is to improve teaching and learning, then supporting teachers has to be the key leadership behaviour. It is the view of school and middle leaders that it is the skill to coach and develop others that has the biggest impact on school improvement.

I am hoping the NPQML will guide me to be a better coach focused on the development of my teams. I have been attempting to do this by running training programmes for staff. By looking at the McKinsey review of Adult learning and leadership development I may not have implemented this as effectively as I could have done. For instance, I take the responsibility of setting the agenda, ensuring its alignment with my subject development plan focused on ICT. I did not build learning around strategic projects or encourage a peer community to develop. 

Developing teams: A Target to Ensure School Improvement

So a target to ensure improvement would be to create and sustain a collaborative culture. This can be achieved effectively by establishing a mentoring system, demonstrating expected behaviours through role modelling, and fostering team involvement in self-reflection. Teams can analyse the impact of their work. It would be interesting to attempt a collaboration of staff teams across a number of local schools to share ideas and good practices. Since the completion of this article, I am engaged in three such projects in Kent.

From the study, it seems research into the impact of school leadership is increasing and there are multiple initiatives in the early stages of implementation. If the idea on an international scale is to “develop the best” through formal training of school managers and leaders then, surely a formalisation of the in-school development of adult learners would have a similar positive impact. This is the theory behind appraisals and performance management.

See also  The Ultimate Guide to Transitions.
To Ensure improvement Create and sustain a collaborative culture - School improvement quote

The Role of Professional Development in Developing Teams

Often the CPD available in schools is piecemeal and driven by a teacher’s interests. This is less effective than CPD planned from a strategic level. At least this is my experience, I have pushed for and been supported on numerous courses and professional development opportunities both linked to my leadership and curriculum. I can recall only one instance when a senior leader proactively pursued this to address a specific requirement within the school. To motivate and develop the school teams maybe a focus on planned and integrated CPD linked to the SIP would have a huge positive impact; but at a relatively high cost in terms of cost of courses, cover required, disruption to classes etc.

This approach would facilitate a more decentralized model of leadership, where individuals with expertise and dedication in specific areas assume responsibility at various levels within the school hierarchy, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment.


  • Developing Teams as a School Leader:
    • School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning.
    • Supporting teachers and developing teams is key to improving teaching and learning.
  • Creating a Collaborative Culture:
    • Creating and sustaining a collaborative culture is essential for school improvement.
    • This can be achieved through mentoring, role modelling, and self-reflection.
  • The Role of Professional Development:
    • CPD in schools should be planned and integrated, linked to strategic goals.
    • A focus on CPD can empower leaders at every level and improve school teams.
  • Leadership Development and Adult Learning:
    • Effective leadership development should involve building learning around strategic projects.
    • Encouraging a peer community can also help in developing teams.

1 thought on “Thoughts on Developing Teams in Schools”

  1. Pingback: 10 Ways School Leaders Secure Buy-In from Their Teams

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