IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Leadership programme: Leading into the Future

Enhancing leadership to achieve excellence for all young Londoners.

This free leadership programme has been jointly developed by Reconnect London and the UCL Centre for Educational Leadership, with the aim to strengthen the transformative impact of school leadership in London and further improve outcomes for young Londoners.

The programme will do this through a place-based, collaborative enquiry approach which harnesses school leaders’ insights and experiences, improving and strengthening leadership practices for better outcomes in London schools.

Who is this for?

The programme spans two terms and is open to all senior leaders in London schools. It is particularly aimed at headteachers and deputy headteachers who will join their peers to reflect on their leadership successes and challenges, gaining an insight into relevant research on leadership impact, and becoming part of a professional learning community that includes senior leaders from schools across the capital. Depending on individual schools’ capacity, we recommend 1-2 senior leaders from each school to join the programme. 

Why is this programme timely and important?

London schools have achieved significant success but, following the Covid-19 pandemic, face some significant challenges. To secure the ongoing success of the London school system and mitigate against future risks, we need to strengthen our collective understanding of the practice and impact of effective school leadership in London.  Current challenges include child poverty, pupil attendance, staff recruitment and retention, the disadvantage gap, increasing numbers of children with SEND needs and increasing incidence of mental health difficulties – and increasingly constrained resources. To address these challenges, we need to:

  • Understand more about what good practice in school leadership looks like within the London school system, so that we can build on current strengths into the future. 
  • Better understand how specific leadership practices make a difference in London schools, drawing on international research, relevant theoretical frameworks and practitioner expertise. 
  • Support the creation of professional learning communities for senior school leaders in London, within which they can support each other and benefit from peer to peer leadership development. 
  • Create space for school leaders to develop their ability to adapt to changing contexts, underpinned by the shared moral purpose of sustaining and improving the system for the benefit of young Londoners.
When and where?

The programme will begin with a launch event at the Friends House on 28 September 2023 between 14:00-16:30, open to all school leaders in the capital, followed by one school-based workshop each half-term during the 2023-24 academic year (Workshop 1 - 5 December 2023; Workshop 2 - 30 January 2024; Workshop 3 - 19 March 2024) and a celebration event at UCL IOE on 9 May 2024 between 14:00-16:30.

What is the programme?

Through a series of workshops, senior leaders of London schools will have the opportunity to connect theory with practice, developing a toolkit to support transformational leadership and context-responsive practice in their schools. Each workshop will involve: 

  • Input from academics from UCL IOE, who will introduce relevant research and theoretical frameworks and discuss its relevance to the work of school leaders in London.
  • Input from school leaders about how they have achieved success and how their actions have impacted on pupil outcomes, making connections between academic and practitioner expertise.
  • Opportunities for collaborative discussion and reflection, with a focus on the development of a framework that enables school leaders to understand and manage the risks that exist in their particular contexts, to put into place strategies that enable them to be successful and to evaluate the impact of their actions. 
How will the programme be delivered?

Each workshop will be a reflective, collaborative learning journey to understand how school leaders develop, how their leadership practice evolves and how their work impacts on pupil outcomes. The workshops will offer an opportunity for school leaders to reflect on successful leadership practices, looking back and looking forward, recognising and marking key milestones in terms of their impact.

The workshops will support the creation of peer learning networks, giving senior leaders the opportunity to learn from each other. The situated nature of the practitioner-led, inquiry-focused learning approach will support school leaders to learn more about how individual, organizational and community factors affect the work they are doing in classrooms and schools across the capital.  During the course of the project, we will work towards the creation of a research-informed and practice-enriched framework to understand risks and address how leaders can understand and evaluate their impact.


28 September 2023, 2pm - 4.30pm

5 December 2023, 9am - 12.30pm

  • Workshop 1: Learning from the past - Location TBC

30 January 2024, 9am - 12.30pm

  • Workshop 2: Reflecting on the present - Location TBC

19 March 2024, 9am - 12.30pm

  • Workshop 3: Looking into the future - Location TBC

9 May 2024, 2pm - 4.30pm

  • Celebration event - Location TBC

For further information about the programme, please contact Dr Katharine Vincent or Dr Sofia Eleftheriadou.