Secondary school leadership preparation and development: Experiences and aspirations of members of senior leadership teams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Warwick


In England, school leadership preparation has shifted from the National College and local authorities to teaching schools, their alliances and multi-academy trusts. Against this changing educational landscape, we investigate opportunities presented to men and women in secondary school leadership teams (SLTs). Drawing on interview data from a British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society funded investigation, we report on leadership preparation and development opportunities, aspiration to headship, headteachers’ support of ‘in house’, regional and national preparation programmes, coaching and mentoring involvement as well as access to formal and informal networks. Our analysis of SLTs as sites of potential for headship demonstrated some variability in women’s and men’s reported experiences. Accredited courses, higher degrees and workplace-based preparation provided access to leadership preparation and development opportunities; access was not transferrable from school to school. We identified a fragmented system and suggest policy and cultural changes to allow SLTs to offer inclusive and sustainable opportunities for succession planning.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages6
JournalManagement in Education
Issue number2
Early online date21 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • leadership preparation , leadership development , secondary schools , educational leadership , headteacher , local authority , teaching schools , academy chains , succession planning