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Leading Systems Change has been designed collaboratively by the Scottish College for Educational Leadership, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland and the Staff College Scotland.

This programme supports the delivery of excellence and equity through a whole-systems approach to integrated leadership. It reflects the rapidly changing local government and public sector landscape in times of ambiguity and change.

Who is it for?

The programme is intended for those who:

  • are in senior leadership roles in Scottish Education including service directors, service managers, those likely to have key roles in the new Regional Improvement Collaboratives and their equivalents across local authorities and national organisations
  • are committed to deepening their learning about leadership and making behavioural changes that impact positively on the system and
  • are committed to sharing their learning from the programme with colleagues and others.

Programme participants will be highly committed, with the ability to dedicate the time to complete the programme in full, and will require sponsorship from their Director, who is likely to be their line manager or another appropriate senior colleague.

Those who feel they meet the criteria will be required to commit the time to complete the programme in full including participation at all residential events and learning group activity.

What is involved?

Leading Systems Change is a national programme for senior leaders in education and allied services, rooted in systems leadership and the principles of GIRFEC. The programme provides an opportunity for small groups of senior leaders to apply alternative approaches to leadership to real, systemic education challenges that they are currently facing. Informed by the latest research and practice into systems leadership in public services, the programme provides an opportunity for participants to use their peers on the programme to determine and work on a specific systems leadership challenge.

How is the programme structured?

The programme is structured around three separate two-day core residential events and learning is supported initially through engagement in a bespoke 360 instrument examining the characteristics of system leadership.

At the first residential event, participants will set their individual learning objectives based on the results of the 360 instrument and bring an initial ‘leadership challenge’ which will be discussed and challenged through the formation of thematic house groups.

Learning co-ordinators will work with participants to define and refine their leadership challenge and to provide support throughout the duration of the programme.

At the end of the programme there will be a final event which will focus on the leadership challenges and futures thinking.

More information

For more information, please view the Leading Systems Change programme overview document or contact

Leading Systems Change – programme overview

Resource materials

Resource materials for participants of Leading Systems Change

View resources