Leadership structures in primary schools

Get to grips with the different leadership structures available, and see examples of how schools, including small schools, are organising their senior and middle leaders.

Last reviewed on 10 February 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: PrimaryRef: 1143
  1. Things to consider
  2. Phase-based leadership
  3. Focus-based leadership
  4. Distributed, democratic or collective leadership
  5. Next steps

Things to consider

When rethinking your leadership structure, be aware of practical considerations and the specific needs of your school. For example:

  • The size and type of your school
  • Your position in a multi-academy trust (MAT), federation or partnership, and any sharing of staff involved
  • The skill sets of your staff
  • Your school’s strengths, values and school improvement plan
  • What you can realistically afford in terms of pay and staff training
  • Your personal leadership style

These considerations should guide the shape of your senior leadership team (SLT) and your middle leadership structure. Not all leadership structures will suit all schools, and some may not be financially possible.

Find out about teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments and the upper pay range (UPR) in our other articles.

Types of school leadership

In reality, a hybrid approach of