Middle Leadership Mastery: A toolkit for subject and pastoral leaders£16.99*
- An oft-neglected area of professional development, this book offers a fantastic guide of the skills and requirements of a school middle leadership role.
- Adam offers a great mix of anecdotal stories from his own experiences, sharing ideas, resources and research that help underpin his own ethos.
- The book explores key aspects of middle leadership including: subject expertise; teaching and learning styles, CPD, pastoral situations and wellbeing.
- Each chapter offers a fantastic summary and key points, along with reflective questions that middle leaders can apply within their own context.
- This book is well placed for teaching colleagues who are considering the step up into middle leadership, offering tools, reflections and tips on how to successfully achieve in the role.
The role of middle leaders in schools has changed significantly in recent years. Previously, you could become ‘Head of Department’, or ‘Head of Key Stage’, with a mix of responsibilities dependent on curriculum, school or the individual. Fast forward to present expectations, and middle leaders are now expected to be experts in their subject area, experts in teaching and learning styles, experts in assessments, decision-makers, pastoral leaders, and leading colleagues continued professional development.
Knowing where to start, when thrust into such a responsible position, can be one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a middle leader but, in his new book, Adam Robbins shows that becoming respected and trusted in the role is possible. Building upon his own experiences, Adam highlights the role of subject specialists in making key decisions about the strategic direction of each department. Each chapter takes a common aspect of middle leadership and explores it in depth. In the ‘Leading the Curriculum’ chapter, for example, Adam argues the case for a knowledge-rich curriculum acknowledging that leaders need to be pragmatic, making balanced choices of what to teach, whilst prioritising what is best for the students in your community.
Throughout, a mix of real-world examples are shared, and Adam offers reflective questions to consider within your own professional context. Pedagogical and classroom management strategies are shared, along with considerations on how to build an assessment strategy for your department. In ‘Leading Quality Assurance’ and ‘Leading teacher development’, templates and strategies are showcased that can be adapted and used in other settings, where the emphasis is on support the professional development of colleagues, rather than using learning walks (shudders) as a punitive tool for colleagues.
By providing an overview of important concepts, such as bias within the ‘Decision Making’ chapter, attention is given to the pastoral aspect of being a middle leader, with tips and guidance on how to deal with pupils who you may not know too well, but come across on a regular basis.
This book is an essential read for those thinking of taking the next steps in the teaching career, possible within your current setting, or another school entirely – perhaps invest in this book before you write the application, or attend the interview. Adam sets out some of the challenges of the middle leader role, but the ultimate message within the book is that being the head of a department can be a very rewarding role that needs to be done well, respectfully and professionally. Not all people are suited to the role, but if you are tempted to take the step up, then this book is for you.
*RRP Price correct at time of article publication.