The “hero headteacher” is a myth that has long been debunked. Headteacher Laura McPhee discusses her school’s approach to distributed leadership and five areas which have benefited in particular

The Ofsted inspection framework reminds us that leaders can have the strongest effect on the quality of the education, but with shrinking budgets and ever-increasing demands on leaders, how do we balance the seemingly impossible task of doing more with less?

Schools have historically operated under a hierarchal “top-down” structure. However, research evidence points to the benefits of distributed leadership. This is particularly effective in supporting disadvantaged pupils to make rapid and sustained progress (Chetty et al, 2014).

This has certainly been true for us at Loughborough Primary School. When Ofsted came to visit in March 2023, inspectors agreed that pupils made excellent progress from their starting points and that “there was enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding” if a graded (Section 5) inspection were to be carried out.

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