Leadership structures in 'outstanding' schools

Find guidance from a school leader on how you can organise your staffing structure, and have a look at how some ‘outstanding’ schools have structured their leadership teams.

Last reviewed on 29 March 2022
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  1. Aim for strong middle leadership to cut down your SLT
  2. Primary school examples
  3. Secondary school example
  4. Special school example

Aim for strong middle leadership to cut down your SLT

We spoke to Gwen Temple, senior deputy headteacher at Lawrence Sheriff School in Warwickshire, for advice on organising a staffing structure in an 'outstanding' school.


Begin by looking at your curriculum model. This will help to determine what subject teachers, and how many, you need in place.

Department heads

Consider what constitutes a department. If a subject only has 1 teacher – for example, politics – then you might also make that teacher the head of politics.

However, this could get expensive as the teacher could then be considered a middle leader and be paid as such.

Instead, you could group smaller subject areas together to make up a department or faculty. So, you could make politics a subject area that forms part of the history department or a humanities faculty.

Consider whether you want teaching staff to have pastoral responsibilities or

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