Resources for middle leaders

Resources for middle leaders, including subject and department leads

Whether you're new to middle leadership (or subject/department leadership), or you've got a bit of experience under your belt, use these hand-picked resources to help you manage your responsibilities.

Department/subject leadership: checklist for the new academic year

Use our checklist of tasks to help get your department/subject plans in great shape for the new academic year.

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Termly tasks for primary subject leaders: checklist

Download our checklist to help you plan ahead and keep on top of your termly tasks. It covers curriculum planning, subject monitoring and setting your subject vision.

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Termly tasks for secondary heads of department/subject: checklist

Download our checklist to help you keep on top of your termly tasks. It includes tasks to help with preparing for exams, managing staff, and monitoring your subject.

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Tasks for a Key Stage leader: checklist

Download our phase leader checklist to help you stay on top of your tasks. You'll find daily, weekly, half termly, termly and yearly tasks to complete.

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Visit our curriculum resource hub for help with improving the curriculum for your subject/department, including subject-specific audit tools, case studies on innovative curriculum approaches from other schools and more.

Use the curriculum tools alongside our subject/department evaluation templates and guidance – they'll help you identify strengths and areas for development.

Curriculum resource hub

Reveal the gold in your curriculum. You don't need to reinvent what you teach - get total confidence that what you do is right for your pupils.

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Evaluate your subject/department: SEF checklist

Download and adapt our checklist to evaluate the effectiveness of your subject or department. It's divided into the 2019 Ofsted framework judgements, and is designed to work alongside our curriculum evaluation tools.

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How to do your own subject deep dive

Follow our step-by-step guide to help you collaborate with staff to carry out your own subject deep dive, with a view to making improvements to your curriculum.

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How to evaluate the effectiveness of your department

Read on for details of 8 key actions to take when evaluating your subject department, with tips from our experts on analysing results, conducting pupil voice surveys and creating an action plan.

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Once you've identified your strengths and areas for development, begin your improvement plan and set it in motion. 

Use our guidance on developing a subject action plan to help you prioritise effectively, set SMART targets and identify clear actions and success criteria.

Then, organise your monitoring schedule to help you track your initiatives throughout the year.

Subject leadership: how to develop and embed a vision

Find out how to write your subject vision and get tips on embedding it. See examples of vision statements and a case study from a secondary teaching school.

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Subject action plan: template and guidance

Once you’ve evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of your subject or department, you’ll want to turn that information into a coherent improvement plan. Download our template and follow our guidance to get the most out of your plan.

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How to organise your monitoring schedule

Find out how you can monitor with purpose, so you don't overload staff with unnecessary monitoring. Plus, see examples of policies from other schools.

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Curriculum progression: activities for teachers (primary)

Boost teachers’ confidence in curriculum progression. Lead activities from our pack to develop their understanding of how Key Stage (KS) 1 learning impacts KS2.

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Use these resources to help you collect evidence and track progress towards the goals set out in your improvement plan. 

Work scrutiny: how-to and template

Follow these steps to make sure your work scrutinies have an impact and lead to improvements in your school.

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Lesson observations: how-to guide and templates

Get to grips with how to carry out successful lesson observations. Use our lesson observation templates (2 of which are based on Ofsted inspection criteria), our template feedback form for staff and a spreadsheet to keep track of observations throughout the school year.

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Learning walks: templates

Use our downloadable template – which takes into account Ofsted inspection criteria – to carry out a learning walk. There are also templates that focus on specific areas: EYFS, SEN provision, the learning environment and behaviour.

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Planning scrutiny: template

Download and customise our template to help you scrutinise teachers' general and topic-specific planning.

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Developing a consistent assessment system

A whole-school assessment system based on the curriculum is key to monitoring pupil progress and attainment. Find out how to review or redevelop yours to make sure it's fair and consistent.

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Pupil survey pack

Everything you need to create your survey – a statement bank covering a range of topics, a survey template and a letter to pupils. Plus, examples from schools.

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Subject reports: primary

Get advice on writing a subject leader report in primary school. See examples of subject reports from primary schools for core and non-core subjects.

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Prepare for subject deep dives and get to grips with the '3 i's' of curriculum inspection: intent, implementation and impact. 

Share questions that Ofsted might ask with your teachers so they are prepared.

How Ofsted inspects your curriculum

Ofsted's 'quality of education' measure puts your curriculum in the spotlight. Understand how inspectors will judge your intent, implementation and impact, and the evidence they'll consider.

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Questions Ofsted might ask you based on your role

Get an idea of what Ofsted could ask you and your colleagues all in one place, so you feel confident talking to inspectors. Find out what they could ask headteachers and SLT, middle leaders, SENCOs, teachers, SBMs and EYFS staff.

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Questions Ofsted might ask you based on your subject

Get a handle on what Ofsted could ask you and your colleagues about a subject during a 'deep dive', all in one place. See what inspectors could ask about art, computing, English, geography, history, maths, modern foreign languages, PE, PSHE, and science.

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Ofsted inspection: curriculum FAQs

Not sure how Ofsted will inspect your curriculum? Get answers to frequently asked questions under the 2019 framework.

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Ofsted mythbuster

Can headteachers join deep dives? Do schools need a certain level of staff absence to be granted a deferral? Read our mythbuster to get clarity on a range of questions about how Ofsted inspects your school.

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Learn how to write a policy from scratch or review an existing one. Have a look at our model and example policies to help you develop the ones you need for your subject or department. 


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How to review a school policy

Here's your 5-step guide to reviewing a policy. You'll find a tool to help you check changes to statutory guidance and advice on assessing whether the policy is working effectively. Use our model statement on equality once you've evaluated the impact of your existing policy on those with protected characteristics.

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How to develop a school policy

Use our step-by-step guide to developing a school policy and download our policy template with guidance on what to include.

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If your governing board has a link governor for your subject, learn how to develop an effective working relationship with them.

Plus, use our toolkit to understand how to support staff wellbeing as a line manager.

Subject leads: how to work with your link governor

Learn what your subject link governor does and how to develop an effective working relationship with them. Be prepared for meetings by using our reporting template – it includes questions they might ask about your subject.

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How to maximise the impact of governor visits

School visits are an important part of your governors' monitoring role. Get tips on how to make sure their visits are effective, and use our templates to help structure the conversations.

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Staff wellbeing toolkit for line managers

Use these resources to help you look after the wellbeing of your staff. Feel equipped to spot wellbeing challenges, take the appropriate next steps, and support a whole-school focus on wellbeing.

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