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School Development Service

Leadership and Management


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STEPS into Leadership

Senior Leadership Pathways

This programme is designed to support senior leaders develop the skills and attributes required to bring about improvement in school.

'Effective Leadership is not just a job; it is a complex interaction between a range of personal and professional qualities and experiences'.(Leadership development and Personal Effectiveness', National College November 2004.)

Research indicates that leadership is second only to teaching in terms of its impact on learning and that the impact of leadership is greatest in those contexts where the learning needs of pupils are greatest. (Seven strong claims about successful leadership’ National College for School Leadership (NCSL).

Our Senior Leadership Pathways programme is designed to support your personal and professional learning and to be a resource for leadership development. It is designed to stimulate reflection, dialogue and future action by school leaders.

Course Outline


Senior Pathways is delivered over

  • 1 Introductory Full Day (compulsory) 
  • 6 Evening Seminars - usually one per month (4pm – 7.45pm)
  • 1 Final Full Day (compulsory - where participants present their School Improvement Project with a Q&A session)
  • Course dates & venues TBC.


  • You should be a Middle/Senior leader for more than 3 years
  • You must be in the position of leading a team.
  • Be in a position to lead a School Improvement Project.
  • You must have the support and permission of your Principal to apply & attend.


An experiential approach with a facilitative and invitational approach that affords you the opportunity in safe environment to reflect on your leadership style and approach and grow your competencies. Particpants will complete a reflective journal, Self appraisal and learning styles inventory as well as learning through the experiences undertaken. Particpants will also have  access to online resources and support.

Course Content/Themes

The course is underpinned by national standards for school leaders which have been contextualised for Northern Ireland.

  • Vision/Values and strategic planning
  • Leading learning and teaching
  • Leading others (intrapersonal and interpersonal skills)
  • Leading the organisation
  • Securing accountability
  • Leading in the community

Course Objectives

  • To equip the middle leader to engage and reflect on their leadership style, values, vision and competencies
  • To explore the challenges and skills in leading others effectively
  • To understand their role in leading learning and teaching in a consistent, accountable and supportive manner
  • To examine the role and practice of the concept of partnering with a range of stakeholders within the school community
  • To engage in a school improvement project to highlight learning and teaching

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme participants will;

  • Have enhanced self-awareness of own leadership style and skills
  • Be clearer on the role of vision and values with their leadership in order to lead and motivate staff
  • Have an increased knowledge and competency in managing and leading a range of stakeholders others
  • Recognise the impact of their leadership on learning and teaching, modelling, monitoring/evaluating and dialogue to improve school outcomes
  • Lead change for improvement within their sphere of influence


Please note - there is no subcover for any part of this programme.

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