Talented Leaders

The Talented Leaders Programme is a government initiative that has matched exceptional headteachers and deputy headteachers to headships in UK’s most challenging schools and deprived areas, embedding strong leaders in schools and communities which need long-term investment.

There are currently 27 Talented Leaders in post across two cohorts (2015 and 2016), matched to schools around the UK and impacting over 10,000 children. To date, a number of Talented Leaders schools have been judged as Good (or expecting) following Ofsted inspections, all schools on the programme are being taken out of Special Measures and have been praised by Ofsted for building sustainable leadership. 

The Talented Leaders Programme runs for three years which has given the opportunity for our Talented Leaders to embed and implement sustainable change in a challenging school, with the objective to turn it from challenging to outstanding.  

The Talented Leaders programme supports the selected participants in their current headships by providing tailored continuous professional development (CPD), executive coaching, and support for their schools. We are no longer recruiting participants and schools for this specific programme, however, please visit our Programmes page to learn about our current Headship and Senior Leadership programmes. 

Case studies 


Ms. Umbar Sharif, Headteacher, Ormiston Six Villages Academy in West Sussex 

Context: The school was placed in Special Measures in January 2016 prior to Umbar Sharif taking post. Since in post, all areas of the school have been tackled with particular improvements to performance of staff, behaviour, Teaching & Learning and pupils outcomes resulting to faster progress from disadvantaged and pupils with special needs. Ofsted judged the school as ‘good’ in all areas within 18 months of Umbar’s appointment. 

Ofsted comments: “Since her appointment, just days before the previous inspection, the principal has worked relentlessly to reverse a trend of declining standards. Together with her senior team, members of the interim executive board (IEB) and support from the Ormiston Academies Trust, she has systematically addressed the issues that were holding the school back. As a result, the school is improving rapidly.” Ofsted Report, October 2017  

Ms. Linda Emmett, Headteacher, All Saints Catholic College in Bolton 

Context: The school was judged as Inadequate in February 2016 and had three monitoring visits since its Ofsted inspection in July 2017. Urgent areas of improvement were Teaching & Learning, behaviour and systems as well as leadership. All areas of the school have been thoroughly tackled with particular improvements to leadership and performance of staff, Teaching & Learning, behaviour and pupils progress. 

Ofsted comments: “Under the direction of the headteacher, leaders in all areas accept the vision that only ethical and sustainable leadership will do. This is clearly based on the premise that pupils must thrive at All Saints Catholic College. Leaders are unrelenting in their pursuit of excellence for the pupils at All Saints Catholic College. Pupils, parents and staff are now proud of their school.” 

Ms. Christine Woods, Ormiston Endeavour Academy in Suffolk 

Context: The school was placed in special measures in January 2015 prior to Christine Woods taking post in April 2015. Following the 2015 inspection, the school received five monitoring visits prior to its full Ofsted inspection in December 2016 where the school was judged as 'good', taking it out of Special Measures within 20 months. 

Ofsted comments: “ Under the determined leadership of the principal, Ormiston Endeavour is a vastly different school from the one that was inspected two years ago.  Leaders have steered the work of staff to work as a team in order to establish common expectations and greater consistency. Good teaching and good behaviour are now the norm." 

More success stories from Talented Leaders Headteachers will be released throughout the academic year on the Ambition School Leadership website and social platforms. For more information about our headship programmes, please contact info@ambitionschoolleadership.org.uk