Challenging schools require inspiring leaders, but historically they have struggled to recruit. Future Leaders was set up in 2006 to tackle this problem. The programme identifies individuals who have the potential to be great school leaders and gives them the training they need.
Future Leaders is a leadership development programme aimed at aspiring school leaders who believe in the mission to eradicate educational disadvantage and have the talent and commitment to become headteachers of challenging schools. The programme offers an accelerated path to headship for qualified current - and former - teachers who believe passionately that every child has the potential to succeed, regardless of background.
Future Leaders is run by the Future Leaders Charitable Trust which was established in 2006 by Ark, the National College and the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust (SSAT) on the premise that school leadership is the single most important controllable driver of achievement in schools, and even more so in challenging schools. These organisations shared the vision for a programme to improve the life chances of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds by raising their attainment through effective, inspirational school leadership.
2014’s cohort was the biggest ever. Some 376 Future Leaders are now working in over 250 schools, and almost 100 of them have become headteachers. Future Leaders is having a real impact: last year, these heads improved disadvantaged students’ attainment at almost double the rate of comparable schools.
My Future Leaders programme:
Natalie Sheppard, Principal, Portsmouth Academy for Girls
“A colleague recommended the Future Leaders programme and its values clearly spoke to my conscience. The training has been brilliant and I love being part of a network of people who share the same values.
“After my first year, I joined Ark Globe Academy. These were formative years, and I was able to contribute to a transformational change in school culture. It helped prepare me for headship.
“I knew I wanted to move south to help lead change in Portsmouth’s schools. Portsmouth is a divided city with lots of independent schools relative to its size. When I saw that the Thinking Schools Academy Trust was looking to expand in Portsmouth I applied for their new headship post.
“That school is now Portsmouth Academy for Girls and I am proud to be Principal. Future Leaders has prepared me for this role. We serve a community in the highest quintile nationally for deprivation and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the school because these students have a right to the education that I got. They deserve a better future.”