Teaching Leaders Primary

Our selective programme for high-potential middle leaders looking to increase their impact, with tailored primary and secondary pathways
Middle leaders in primary schools working in challenging contexts

Teaching Leaders is our selective leadership development programme for high-potential middle leaders working in schools in challenging contexts.

Blending intensive coaching, face-to-face training and online learning, Teaching Leaders helps schools to retain and develop high-potential staff, improve pupil outcomes in the key areas of reading, writing and maths and close achievement gaps for disadvantaged children. 

Route 1: two year programme for middle leaders looking to increase their impact

Well suited to newer middle leaders looking to build their confidence and core leadership skills, Route 1 helps participants discover their own strengths and learn to use data to inform planning and strategy. 

In year one, participants will benefit from: 

  • 35 hrs of face-to-face development from experienced facilitators with school leadership backgrounds, including evening seminars and conference days
  • 1:1 coaching with experienced leaders from primary schools in challenging contexts 
  • an inspiring weekend induction conference, bringing the whole regional cohort together to network and build lasting relationships 
  • Working on an Impact Initiative , in which participants measure their impact on the progress  of disadvantaged pupils in their area of responsibility over the year 

Participants can apply to proceed into year two, joining more experienced middle leaders entering the programme via Route 2. 

Route 1, year 2 / Route 2: for high-potential middle leaders

This year focuses on developing advanced leadership skills including coaching, facilitation, influencing skills and how to develop a high performing team. All these are focused on helping middle leaders effect change to improve pupil outcomes. 

This includes: 

  • 50+ hours of face-to-face development, including evening seminars and conference days  
  • 1:1 coaching sessions experienced leaders from primary schools in challenging contexts 
  • An inspiring and developmental five-day residential that brings together the national, cross-phase cohort. Speakers at the residential include Sir David Carter (National Schools Commissioner), Geoff Barton (General Secretary of ASCL), Baroness Sue Campbell (chair of Youth Sport Trust, former chair of UK Sport), and Lee Elliot Major (CEO, The Sutton Trust)
  • Working on an Area Impact Strategy, in which participants measure their impact on the progress  of disadvantaged pupils across their area of responsibility over the year 

Teaching Leaders NPQSL

We have received confirmation from the Department for Education that we have been awarded a licence to deliver National Professional Qualifications (NPQs).

We can now confirm that Teaching Leaders will include the option to gain the NPQSL*.

Applications for Teaching Leaders are now closed. If you are interested in nominating middle leaders for the programme next year, or in joining the programme yourself, please register your interest.

*The exact additional requirements are currently being determined and we will provide further information on this during our induction and summer residential events. There will be a small additional cost to cover the assessment for the award of the qualification.


We work exclusively with schools in challenging contexts. Click here to read our school eligibility criteria.


In order to maximise whole-school impact, we encourage headteachers to nominate teams of, usually, three middle leaders with the motivation and potential to develop their leadership skills commencing in Year One of the programme. 

There are two prerequisites for all Teaching Leaders Primary participants:

Role: those with accountability for reading, writing and/or maths results e.g. phase leader, English or maths subject lead or whole-school leadership such as SEND/inclusion. Other middle leadership roles are considered if they have the potential to impact on outcomes in English and maths.

Performance: candidates are judged by their school to be highly effective teachers who strive to achieve the best outcomes and progress for their pupils.

  • What are the benefits of the programme?

    Transform your leadership team and improve pupil outcomes: 

    • Low-attaining pupils in primary schools with our middle leaders outperform others in all schools by 9% in maths, 6% in reading, and 7% in writing 
    • Participants learn how to analyse data and turn underperformance around and role model a culture of improvement and accountability 

    Retain and develop your best teachers: 

    • Teaching Leaders participants commit to stay at their schools for the full duration of the programme 

    Become part of a powerful network: 

    • Our rigorous assessment and selection process ensures that participants form a powerful peer group of like-minded, optimistic and collaborative leaders 
    • Your school and leaders will join Ambition School Leadership’s national network of more than 4,000 leaders and 1,500 schools, sharing ideas and best practice

  • What is the selection process?

    Stage 1: Application
    You will be required to complete an online application form.  Your form will then be marked by trained assessors. 

    Stage 2: An assessment centre
    An assessment centre is a method that involves candidates being assessed by multiple assessors across multiple activities.  You will be assessed against the Ambition School Leadership Behavioural Competency Framework by trained assessors.  The activities you will undertake at this assessment centre are:

    • Presentation
    • Reflective
    • Focused Interview

    Quality and Rigour
    All selection stages are designed by specialists in the field of occupational psychology.  All candidates will sit the same activities during a selection stage, with standardised information and timings.  A quality assurance process takes place at each stage to ensure the accuracy, consistency and fairness of assessments made.  

  • What is the impact of the programme?

    Disadvantaged pupils have higher attainment in maths and reading and make better progress where there is a Teaching Leaders participant with responsibilities for maths or reading in their school, compared to pupils in similar schools*. Primary leaders who have progressed to the second year of Teaching Leaders have an even greater impact on the progress of disadvantaged pupils than those in their first year.

    Disadvantaged pupils reaching the expected standard for maths

    61% of disadvantaged pupils with a Teaching Leaders participant responsible for maths attain the expected standard in maths, compared to only 56% in similar schools.

    Disadvantaged pupils reaching the expected standard for reading

    52% of disadvantaged pupils with a Teaching Leaders participant responsible for reading attain the expected standard in reading, compared to only 47% in similar schools.

    * Similar schools are matched to our schools based on the attainment of their intake, on the performance of the schools in previous years, and pupil characteristics such as disadvantage.

  • What do I need to do next?

    Headteacher or senior leader looking to the Teaching Leaders programme to improve impact and retention at your school?

    • If you would like more information then please register your interest. Our team will quickly be in touch to help you through the process, explaining the benefits of our programme, answering any questions you have and supporting you to nominate your middle leaders for this programme.
    • If you are ready to commit to putting a staff member onto the programme, please complete our nomination form.  This will pass your middle leader’s details to a member of our team who will make contact with them and support them through the application process.

    Middle leader interested in this programme for your own development?

    • Please register your interest and one of our team will be in touch to support you through the process. You will need the support of your school and headteacher so we encourage you to speak to them at the earliest opportunity so they are aware of the benefits of the programme and your desire to join.
    • For guidance on completing your Primary route 1 application click here.
    • For guidance on completing your Primary route 2 application click here.

  • What is the value for money of the Teaching Leaders programme?

    Teaching Leaders is our flagship programme for high-potential middle leaders. It provides exceptional value for money at just £1000 per middle leader. It is heavily subsidised by the Department for Education and as a result represents exceptional value for money for the sector.

    Your £1,000 contribution guarantees you:

    Year One:

    • 35 hours face-to-face leadership development
    • 2 days of weekend induction with leading education professionals
    • 4 hours of online learning modules
    • 3 hours of one-to-one coaching with an experienced senior leader

     Year Two:

    • 53 hours of face-to-face leadership development
    • 4.5 day residential event with leading education experts
    • 6 hours of one-to-one coaching with an experienced senior leader
    • Focus on an impact strategy to improve performance across the leader’s area of responsibility