DD2106 Getting Ahead London – continuation programme

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
04 April 2017
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

This report sets out a proposed approach to continue the Getting Ahead London school leadership development programme for a further year, utilising the momentum of the well regarded pilot year. This would allow for either the retaining or renewing of the existing high-level coaches or recruitment of a new team, reusing existing approaches and capitalising on the IP of the materials from the pilot year under licence to the successful applicant. 

In order to provide this continuity, recruitment of the new cohort of participants to start in September 2017 must take place in the coming weeks. 


That the Executive Director of Communities and Intelligence approves funding of £148,000 to grant fund an organisation to continue the successful Getting Ahead London programme for 2017/18. The funding will enable an invitation to bid to be prepared for an initial cohort of 40 participants from September 2017. 


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor’s vision is that every child in London should have the best possible chance for happiness and success, making the most of the city’s great opportunities. To give all young Londoners the best start in life educational standards need to be raised, inequality addressed and young people’s ambitions and resilience must be nurtured. MD 1607 authorised the Education and Youth Programme of activity and associated budgets for 2015 – 17 and included funding for Getting Ahead London; a programme to help deliver the Mayoral priority of ‘Supporting Excellence in Teaching and Leadership’ by supporting teacher recruitment, progression and retention including developing new school leaders.   

The programme was developed following in-depth research showing that more needs to be done to secure the leadership pool for future school leaders in the capital. The programme’s vision is to establish a world class system for identifying and nurturing future headteachers in order to ensure London has a strong supply of outstanding school leaders.  

The programme works towards this vision via three clear objectives: 
•    Identify potential – Profile and encourage those talented people in the London education system who have the potential for school leadership roles.  For a variety of reasons, including more retirements of headteachers aged 50 – 59, there is a growing shortage of headteachers in London and more needs to be done to secure the leadership pool for outstanding future school leaders.
•    Encourage existing leaders – Better equip and inspire senior leaders to become headteachers in London.  Research shows that potential headteachers are not being supported to navigate the training effectively and are ‘hesitant’ or lack confidence despite aspiration and talent. There is also a particular gap in relation to personalised mentoring and coaching which Getting Ahead London seeks to fill. The triad and cross-school phase approach deployed in the pilot year is innovative and proving successful.
•    Change the culture – Support a wider culture change of talent management in London and England’s education system. Building the talent pool for headship could be the next, key strategic intervention required to sustain and enhance London education’s improvement journey.  This intervention, once led and developed in the capital, could be rolled out to other regions.

The pilot year is proving to be very successful with a number of participants (5 to date) having already secured Headships before the halfway point in the school year. In order to build on this very successful pilot, work will be undertaken in collaboration with the Department for Education, Teaching Schools, London Boroughs and others to extend the offer further in London and share the learning with colleagues outside London. 

The initial requirement is for a one-year programme, with a view to be taken in due course about its extension for a further two years. The programme will be grant funded with payments made on delivery of previously agreed milestones. It is also hoped that a continuation of the good will and pro-bono work from some areas will be continued.  It is hoped that the participating numbers will increase year on year from the pilot’s sixty participants, scaling to support 500 aspiring leaders by the end of the three year period if funding allows. It is hoped that, with the support of the Department for Education, the prize of the London effect can be shared with the newly identified ‘opportunity areas’ and give those outside the capital a chance to consider a career here.   

However, an invitation to submit proposals for a grant-funded programme to operate the Getting Ahead London programme for 2017/18 must be issued quickly in order to maintain essential momentum and profile within the London school system and to ensure that a new cohort can begin the programme at the beginning of the new academic year in September 2017. Priority is being given to a smaller, less ambitious start to ensure priming of the pipeline of new participants is underway. 

The pilot year has shown that there needs to be a small increase in funding per participant to ensure continuation of the excellent standards of coaching and support and to encourage existing coaches (who are heads of good or outstanding schools and designated national leaders in education) to stay within the programme. It is requested that funding of £148,000 is approved to enable a grant-funded programme with a cohort of forty participants to take part from September. 

It is anticipated that the grant funding proposal will provide an option for expansion to a full three year programme subject to the outcome of the independent evaluation of the pilot which is expected in September 2017.Further GLA funding beyond 2017/18 will need to be considered in the light of this evaluation in the next Budget round .

In order to apply for the funding, organisations will be asked to submit an application which will include basic details of the organisation, project delivery details (including process, numbers, outcomes and evaluation approach) and experience of delivery.  Organisations will also need to submit a milestone timetable with clear delivery points at which funding can be released. Grant payment will only be made if there is clear evidence of the milestone being achieved.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The primary objective of the programme is to build on the personalised and tailored approach to talent management and leadership development used in the pilot year of Getting Ahead London. The delivery of the pilot year to date has been strongly endorsed by an expert advisory group (including DfE, Boroughs, National Governors Association and system leader headteachers) and by one hundred school leaders attending the session covering an update on Getting Ahead London at the Mayor’s Education Conference.

The approach set out in this DD will:  
•    Profile and encourage those talented people in the London education system who have the potential for school leadership roles. 
•    Better equip and inspire middle and senior leaders to become headteachers in London. 
•    Support a wider culture change of talent management in London and England’s education system.  
•    Develop an approach which defines a clear “offer” whilst maximising use and knowledge of current leadership training programmes and other support to align and not duplicate what’s here already. 
Credibility depends to some extent on participants being appointed to headship. However, this proposal is for a systemic and pro-active approach to talent management in London and it may be that some participants decide not to apply for Headship but, instead, use their expanded leadership skill set to positively impact on the education system in other ways.

In addition, the programme seeks to effect a wider cultural change so learning and best practice from outside education must be secured and embedded. This could, for example, take the form of a consortium arrangement across the education sector but also drawing on acknowledged business and other public sector (e.g. NHS, Civil Service) expertise. High level input on leadership styles and skills from the pilot year’s business sector partner has complemented well the educational expertise of the coaches and brokers from top London schools.

It will be important that the talent pool work continues to address current concerns and aligns with existing national and local initiatives to ensure stronger representation of women and BME teachers and middle leaders within senior school leadership positions.  The pilot year attracted a good mix of gender and ethnicity in both the participants and coaches’ cohorts and this must continue and reflect the wider population base. 

Securing the continued engagement of high quality school leaders in the programme will continue to ensure that London’s schools remain world class and London pupils continue to achieve excellent outcomes including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Thorough and ongoing evaluation of the programme will also be required, with mid-term feedback provided and full reports at the end of the year. It is expected that there will be an element of independent evaluation and this will be a key milestone for the release of funding. 

Equality comments

The pilot of Getting Ahead London specifically looked to address both gender and BME differences in potential school leaders. This was scrutinised by the programme’s expert advisory group. This approach will be continued in the next cohort, with ongoing review to ensure participants reflect the wider population.


Other considerations

There is a significant risk of losing momentum in the delivery of the Getting Ahead London programme. In order to retain the expertise of senior leaders in the coaching roles the follow on programme needs to be confirmed this month. 

In addition, the processes needed to recruit a new post-pilot cohort require sufficient time to properly evaluate suitability following application. If the programme is to begin in September 2017 work needs to start on advertising / marketing and seeking applications during April and be completed by early May. Taking the approach of a smaller first tranche with possibility of extension to the larger 3 year offer enables this to happen in the constrained time available. 

The grant-funding approach will follow in the well-established approach set by the London Schools Excellence Fund. The invitation to submit proposals will clearly set out the requirements for bidders, milestone payments agreed and financial due diligence checks will be carried out prior to the grant funding agreement being signed.

Financial comments

5.1    The proposed grant for up to £148,000 will be funded from the Education and Youth Team’s budget for 2017-18. It will be subject to satisfactory due diligence of the successful organisation, and will be governed by way of a funding agreement, with all payments made on successful completion of agreed milestones.


Planned delivery approach and next steps


Timeline w/c

DD Approved

3 April

Invitation to submit grant-funding proposal issued

early April

Grant-funded proposals final responses

24th April

Evaluation of proposals

1th May

Grant agreement signed

8st May

Marketing / Advertising for new cohort

15th May

Participant applications open

15th May

Participant applications close

5th June

Evaluate participants

12th June

Notify participants

19th June

Pilot Year end event

12th June

Year 2 start

3rd July

Year 2 end

July 2018

Ongoing Evaluation



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