Senior Leaders CPD 2013-2014

Bottom-up approaches to school leadership

Course Information

This is a brand new online training course. Given the current educational climate of ‘autonomy and accountability’ these sessions, aimed at school leaders at all levels, will give participants the opportunity to think about how a bottom-up approach to school improvement can work for them in their specific contexts.

Without promising a ‘magic wand’ to wave (there are no universally successful wands!) these sessions will give the participants an interactive forum in which they can think, talk and plan about how they can genuinely empower those they work with to improve teaching and learning at their schools.

Led by Keven Bartle, a successful senior leader in two challenging schools during the last eight years, the sessions will begin with discussion of the theoretical models that underpin a bottom-up, distributive and surplus-driven model of school leadership and how they might be applied in the unique context of the participants’ schools. The course is run over three twilight CPD sessions

Course Content

Session 1


1. A scan of the changing context in which we are working.

2. A theoretical explanation of schools and classrooms as social ‘Complex Adaptive Systems’.

3. An overview of Arnstein’s ladder of participation and the AGILE manifesto (from software development) applied to school leaders.

4. How might an area of your work this year benefit from a genuinely bottom-up approach? Discussion to inform action planning.

Post-session – Participants invited to join a cloud based folder to (a) receive key documents informing the philosophy and (b) upload documents about their own proposed bottom-up projects.

Session 2


The second session will include more details about how the philosophy has been applied by Keven in aspects of whole school leadership ranging from student leadership to data management and from line management processes to pedagogy, backed by details of successive outstanding OFSTED inspections and rapidly increasing best-ever exam results. This session will include time for participants to share and discuss their plans for a bottom-up project within their own schools.

1. A bottom-up approach to student leadership: Creating a Student Parliament to genuinely empower children.

2. A bottom-up approach to data management: Moving beyond a whole-school approach in order to raise attainment.

3. A bottom up approach to school improvement planning: Letting teachers lead whole school review areas of focus to feed into strategic school planning.

4. A bottom-up approach to pedagogy: Putting classroom teachers in charge of whole school leadership of teaching and learning.

5. What plans have you made for a bottom-up approach to an area of your work this year? Discussion to shape action plans.

Session 3


The third and final session will allow participants to share with one another their early findings from their bottom-up project for school improvement and identify the highs and lows of the process. In this session Keven will be able to support you with any questions you have about his approach to school improvement, both specifically in relation to your work over the year and more generally.

1. The potential limitations of a bottom-up approach to school leadership and how to manage these. In what situations may a top-down approach be more beneficial?

2. How is the bottom-up approach working for you? Sharing and discussing what has been most successful in your school-based project this year.

3. How is the bottom-up approach not working for you? Sharing and discussing what has been least successful in your school-based project this year.

4. What current or future barriers do you face in your bottom-up project? Opportunity to ask questions of the group about issues on which you would like advice or guidance.

Course Cost

£200 + VAT. Additional Delegates from the same centre cost £120 + VAT.

Booking Code


Early Booking Discount

Bookings received before 4th October 2013 will receive a booking discount of 10% from the first delegate

Date and Venue (Session 1)

Wednesday, Nov. 6th 2013 at 4-6pm

This is an online event.

Date and Venue (Session 2)

Wednesday, Jan. 15th, 4-6pm

This is an online event.

Date and Venue (Session 3)

Wednesday, June 18th, 4-6pm

This is an online event.

Purchase the Recording

If the date and time is inconvenient then you can purchase a recording of the session. The recording allows you to view the live session at a time that is convenient. The recording can be played an unlimited number of times. A recording of the session can be purchased in two formats: Digital Link and CD-ROM. Digital link: Available for £ 175 + VAT. PRODUCT CODE: BUASLDL. CD – ROM £210 + VAT. PRODUCT CODE: BUASLCD