Leadership structures in small primary schools

Get advice on how leadership in small primary schools might work in practice and find examples of leadership structures from other small primary schools.

Last reviewed on 18 March 2020
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 31320
  1. Develop your own leadership structure
  2. Examples

Develop your own leadership structure

The leadership structure in your school will depend on your school's context and the experience of your staff. However, you can follow the advice below to get some general recommendations.

This advice came from our associate education experts, Jacqueline Baker and Sarah Searle-Barnes. 

Distribute leadership responsibilities

Ofsted suggests distributing leadership is an effective way to develop leadership in schools (see page 5). Have as flat a leadership structure as possible and avoid a hierarchical structure. Unlike in larger schools, you can make your staff feel involved in the leadership and direction of the school.

It helps to have a rigid performance management process that drives professional development and moves your team toward taking on more responsibility.

Make decisions collectively

If you're the executive headteacher, encourage staff to challenge you so that you can