DD2234 Getting Ahead London – continuation programme

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
11 April 2018
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 third year, utilising the momentum of the pilot and subsequent follow on year and the recently published positive evaluation.

Getting Ahead London helps talented senior leaders (current associate, acting, deputy or assistant heads) to become future headteachers or principals of some of the most rewarding and challenging primary, secondary, special or all-through schools in London. The scheme involves everything from coaching and formal training, to support with job applications and networking events with the business sector. It has been designed to build the talent pool of great headteachers for London schools and address the projected shortage of headteachers due to high levels of retirement and increasing schools.

A further year will allow for retaining the existing high-level coaches (and recruitment of any additional coaches), reusing existing approaches and capitalising on the IP of the existing materials under licence.

The funding will enable Challenge Partners to prepare for a cohort of 45 participants in London from September 2018. In order to provide this continuity, recruitment of the new cohort of participants must take place in the coming weeks.


That the Executive Director of Communities and Intelligence approves grant funding of up to £148,000 to Challenge Partners to deliver the Getting Ahead London programme for 2018/19.

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.

The Getting Ahead London 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 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 grant funding will be used by Challenge Partners to provide operational delivery of the programme, ensuring that events run smoothly, the coaching programme is delivered successfully, and to conduct evaluation of the programme.

Following an invitation to bid authorised by DD 2106, Challenge Partners applied and were awarded funding to deliver Getting Ahead London in 2017-18. To date, milestones have been met and the programme has been successfully delivered. Challenge Partners are an educational charity delivering a range of programmes focused on school improvement including:

• The Network of Excellence - a collaborative network of over 350 schools nationally, organised into regional hubs, through which bespoke programmes that enable all schools to improve are delivered.
• Challenge the Gap - A school improvement programme that helps achieving better outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, and brings about long-term change in and across schools, by building leadership capacity at all levels and using evidence based approaches.

DD2106 authorised the funding for year 2 of 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 initial requirement was for a one-year programme, with a view to extend for a further two years subject to the outcome of an external evaluation of the pilot year. The evaluation of the 16-17 pilot year was extremely positive, and a quarter of participants in year one of the scheme have already progressed into headship with others securing promotions into other leadership roles. There is high demand for the programme – in year 2 there were 120 applications for 48 places.

In order to build on this the programmes successes to date, Challenge Partners are looking at other possible funding sources to roll out the programme nationally. To this end, following conversations with the Department for Education (DfE), Challenge Partners submitted a Standard Selection Questionnaire for the DfE’s Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF) to scale up the programme to reach 30 existing Headteachers in underperforming and Requires Improvement schools in London, and 30 more heads in each of the following regions: Greater Manchester, West Midlands and South Yorkshire. If successful this DfE funding would act to complement GLA funding for aspirant London Heads, expanding the programme to include current headteachers in London and more widely, and share the learning from years 1 and 2 with colleagues outside London. The outcome of this bid is due to be announced in June 2018, and if successful the TLIF funded programme for 30 existing London Heads would commence in January 2019.

It is requested that funding of £148,000 is approved to enable a grant-funded programme with a cohort of 45 participants to take part from September 2018. An extension of the grant-funded programme to operate the Getting Ahead London programme for 2018-19 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 2018.

In order to receive the funding, Challenge Partners will be asked to submit a milestone timetable with clear delivery points (including process, numbers, outcomes and evaluation approach) at which funding can be released. Grant payment will only be made if there is clear evidence of the milestones 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 years 1 and 2 of Getting Ahead London. A secondary objective is to extend the offer further in London and share the learning with colleagues outside London. The delivery to date has been strongly endorsed by an expert advisory group (including DfE, Boroughs, National Governors Association and system leader head teachers) and by 100 school leaders attending the session covering an update on Getting Ahead London at the 2017 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.

Some participants will also decide not to apply for Headship but, instead, use their expanded leadership skill set to positively impact on the education system in other ways. The programme also demonstrates an approach for a systemic and pro-active approach to talent management in London.

In addition, the programme seeks to effect a wider cultural change so that learning and best practice from outside education is secured and embedded. This has for example, take the form of drawing on acknowledged business and other public sector (e.g. NHS, Civil Service) expertise to contribute to the professional networking and event content. This 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.

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

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Year 2 of Getting Ahead London continued to specifically look 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 and address under representation of women and BAME groups as senior leaders and headteachers in London schools.

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 in April.

In addition, the processes needed to recruit a new cohort require sufficient time to properly evaluate suitability following application. If the programme is to begin in September 2018 work needs to start on advertising / marketing and seeking applications during April and be completed by early May.

Challenge Partners will be required to submit their delivery plan for consideration and milestone payments will be agreed prior to the grant funding agreement being signed.

Financial comments

The proposed grant for up to £148,000 will be funded from the Executive Director of Communities and Intelligence’s Minor Programmes budget for 2018-19. It will be subject to satisfactory due diligence of Challenge Partners, and will be governed by way of a funding agreement, with all payments made on successful completion of agreed milestones.

Activity table


Timeline w/c

DD Approved

9 April 2018

Deadline for Challenge Partners to submit milestone timetable

30 April 2018

Evaluation of proposal

7 April 2018

Grant agreement signed

14 May 2018

Marketing / Advertising for new cohort

21 May 2018

Participant applications open

21 May 2018

Participant applications close

11 June 2018

Evaluate participants

18 June 2018

Notify participants

25 June 2018

Year 3 start

2 July 2018

Year 3 end

July 2019

Ongoing Evaluation


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