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School Development Service

Leadership and Management


Course Menu

Building Leadership Capacity

Leadership Pathways

There are no pre-determined pathways into school leadership. Building Leadership Capacity offers the opportunity for schools to grow their own leadership from the early experience of teachers leading in work with other teachers through more formal middle leadership roles into senior leadership at vice-principal level and ultimately into headship. There may be a deliberate attempt by the Principal and Board of Governors at 'sucession planning' or a school policy for staff development that supports individuals in their leadership journey. .

Important stages in leadership development can be identified as;

  • emergent leadership
  • leading from the middle
  • aspiring to headship
  • experienced headteachers
  • consultant headteachers
  • system leaders

They can be explored as separate stages but also considered together as a leadership pathway or journey.

RTU are developing a leadership pathway to take account of the professional development needs of teachers in Northern Ireland.

Leadership Pathways (Northern Ireland)
The core elements for each stage are the National Standards for School Leadership (NI); mentoring and coaching; adult learning principles: an e-portfolio; OECD principles for improving school leadership.
The most important 'pathway' into school leadership in Northern Ireland is through the Professional Qualification for Headship (Northern Ireland) (PQHNI). It is designed for those aspiring to headship.

See also
John West-Burnham's important presentation on
'Understanding effective leadership development'
(OECD Conference Dublin 2007 - Improving School Leadership)

Succession Planning - an overview
You may also want to be involved in NCSL's Virtual conference on Succession Planning

See the PQH(NI) section of the RTU(NI) website

So you want to be a Head - A Teachers TV video - in which an experienced deputy headteacher finds out if she has the skills and the motivation to take on headship.

Get that job- as a headteacher - A Teachers TV video - in which 3 expereinced members of a senior leadership team get the chance to prove they are capable of becoming their school's next headteacher.

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