Become a Systems Leader –
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What is systems leadership?

Put at its simplest, system leadership refers to the form of leadership that goes beyond the individual school to influence the education, achievement and well-being of children and young people more widely. In a local area or region, the best schools and leaders extend their reach across other schools so that all schools improve. There is a system focus on collaborative partnerships, sharing expertise, identifying, and disseminating high leverage best practice. System leaders realise that classroom, school and system impact on one another and seek to engage with this in a meaningful way. So given the right school improvement model in the area what does system leadership do? It can:

Empower the real leaders who can make change happen.

Find time and create the space for innovation.

Keep the work where it needs to be – close to the front line.

Sustain a sense of shared endeavour and a climate for improvement.

Influence an educational system at both a lateral and vertical level.

As its most mature system, leadership will go beyond Headteachers and senior leaders and include other leaders and teachers in schools – going deeper and wider. We sometimes refer to this as ‘systemic leadership’ where a range of expert leaders and teachers in schools at different levels share a strong professional motivation to collaborate. In providing support and challenge to other schools, they seek reciprocal benefits that lead to self-improvement through observation, evaluation, reflection, joint practice development as well as the dissemination of the most effective practice. Systemic leaders take professional responsibility for leading, co-ordinating and delivering sustainable school improvement.

One of the best examples of system leadership and school-to-school support is the work of Teaching schools and their Alliances. They provide the culture and structure that leaders and teachers need to effectively collaborate, reflect on, evaluate the impact of their practice and shared learning, and determine what they can do to improve their professional practice. Collectively leaders and teachers hone their skills in an inquiry learning process including evaluating and diagnosing, prioritising and setting goals, developing, planning and implementing.

We want the Tandridge Teaching Alliance to provide the catalyst for growing systemic leadership in our locality.

How can I get involved?


Many of you and your teachers will already be providing some support or sharing your expertise beyond your own schools, because now you have the capacity to do so. Others of you will not have the breadth and capacity within your schools at this point in time – and could therefore benefit from a little bit of input from colleagues who do have that capacity. Most of us will have capacity in some areas and gaps in others.

If you or your teachers do have capacity, you may meet or nearly meet the criteria to be:

A Specialist Leader of Education (SLE)

A National Leaders of Education (NLE)

The Tandridge Teaching Alliance is here to help facilitate the sharing of skills and to support the growth of systemic leadership.

Get Involved


If you would like to get involved or find out more, please contact

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