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This website will be closed on 21 October 2019. Please visit for all information on the professional learning and leadership programmes, events and resources offered by Education Scotland.

About Middle Leadership

Middle leaders are key drivers in ensuring positive outcomes for all learners. Through working collaboratively with school leaders, members of their teams and partners, they devise and contribute to the school’s vision and values, ensuring that the strategic direction of the school is communicated effectively with all stakeholders.

Leading from the middle and middle leadership can be understood in several different ways which apply to all practitioners at all stages of their career. However, middle leaders can be described as those who have a specified leadership remit beyond the classroom and are provided with resources to carry this out. Such roles might include – but are not limited to – class teacher, depute headteacher, principal teacher or head of faculty. Middle leaders have responsibilities vertically upwards to headteachers, vertically downwards to the staff they are responsible for and laterally to their middle level peers, which makes the role complex and requires key skills, attributes and abilities to work individually and as part of different teams.

Supporting Teacher Leadership programme

The Supporting Teacher Leadership programme is designed to support staff at all levels to become more confident in leading the learning of colleagues around practitioner enquiry.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is aimed at teachers and others in the system who have significant experience of leading learning and teaching through practitioner enquiry in their contexts and would like to develop their confidence to support others to take an enquiring approach to practice.

How is the programme delivered?

The programme engagement takes place over a 6-month period, usually November to April.

The programme is delivered through a two-day residential, followed by one follow-up engagement day. There is intersessional work based around leading colleagues through their enquiry and reflecting on this process.

Participants connect with each other via Microsoft Teams during their engagement which provides an online forum to learn and share experiences and ideas.

What does the programme involve?

The programme is developmental in nature and will support participants to progress from their current experience of supporting colleagues.

Participants are expected to:

  • engage in pre-reading and reflect on how the ideas relate to their own experience of undertaking practitioner enquiry
  • explore and share their understanding of practitioner enquiry with fellow participants leading to collaboratively planning approaches to supporting others to develop as enquiry practitioners
  • lead enquiry within their own context by liaising with school and system leaders to plan and support the development of enquiry
  • reflect and share their progress and learning and consider how they can build capacity within the system to support practitioner enquiry.


Through engagement in this programme, participants may choose to engage in further study around key elements of the programme which include coaching and facilitation training.

Applying for the programme

Recruitment to the programme is now under way. To apply, download and complete the application form:

Supporting Teacher Leadership Application Form 2019-20

Collaborative Middle Leadership programme

We currently offer the Collaborative Middle Leadership (CML) programme which is designed to support middle leaders within a context. This could be within a secondary school, primary cluster or in local authority groups (eg Developing Young Workforce, Literacy). The programme supports middle leaders in a wide variety of roles, ranging from Principal Teachers of Curriculum and year heads to class teachers with a responsibility to take forward an area of work within their context.

CML is a prototype programme designed to engage a context in ongoing professional learning around middle leadership with the aim of enhancing and developing the leadership attributes of the middle leadership team to improve outcomes for all learners. The programme can run at any point in the year and is flexibly designed to allow each context to engage in the areas which have been collectively identified as key priorities.

For more information, read the CML overview:

Collaborative Middle Leadership Programme Overview

Middle Leaders – Leading Change

We have also developed the prototype programme Middle Leaders – Leading Change. This programme is designed to support current middle leaders in developing the use of an enquiring stance when leading change whilst reflecting upon and developing the skills required within the key aspects of the middle leadership role. Participants develop confidence and experience in the use of coaching and engage in self-evaluation against the key aspects of middle leadership. Participants also consider change models and reflect upon their leadership of change in their own context whilst identifying their own areas of strength and development.

This programme starts in September/October (depending on the location) with participants expected to attend all three engagement days. For more information, and to register, follow the links below:

Location Dates
Aberdeen 1 October 2019, 28 January and 9 June 2020
Dundee, Cohort 1 24 October 2019, 29 January and 28 May 2020
Dundee, Cohort 2 25 October 2019, 30 January and 29 May 2020
Edinburgh, Cohort 1 9 September 2019, 13 January and 11 May 2020
Edinburgh, Cohort 2 10 September 2019, 14 January and 12 May 2020
Glasgow, Cohort 1 19 September 2019, 21 January and 20 May 2020
Glasgow, Cohort 2 20 September 2019, 22 January and 22 May 2020
Inverness 27 September 2019, 4 February and 4 June 2020

Other middle leadership support

We’ve developed outline information on effective middle leadership, devised a range of professional learning activities and researched a number of publications and support materials that support development of effective middle leaders. These are available to explore on our Framework for Educational Leadership.

We’ll support additional activities, resources and programmes for middle leaders with a range of partners and will provide information on these developments here and through Twitter. Follow us at @TeamSCEL to keep connected with these developments as they happen.

We work with local authority colleagues to support their delivery of professional learning opportunities for middle leaders at all stages of their career, both to enable professional growth and efficacy in their current roles and future career pathways, including preparation for promotion.

We have also been working with Scottish universities to scope out the delivery of a postgraduate certificate in Middle Leadership (or equivalent) that can form part of a masters pathway including the Specialist Qualification for Headship.

Online Learning

You'll find activities to support middle leadership professional learning on our Framework.

Go to our Framework

Postgraduate Programmes in Middle Leadership

We work with several universities across Scotland who deliver the Middle Leadership component of the Specialist Qualification for Headship Masters pathway.

More information

TeachMeets & Pedagoo

We recently supported Pedagoo’s Muckle event and we’re keen to support other teacher-led professional learning events. Get in touch if you think we could be of help.

Contact us