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School effectiveness

The role of the executive headteacher

As the number of schools working in formal partnerships increases, so does the number of Executive Headteacher (EHT) posts. This leadership role is very different to that of headteacher in a single school, and it is important that governors, staff and parents all understand and have shared expectations of the post-holder.

The Executive Headteacher is a strategic leader, providing professional leadership and management across more than one school, either within a federation or a multi-academy trust. It is a complex and multi-faceted role of system leadership.

EHTs will usually have a focus on:

  • driving school improvement and addressing any underperformance;
  • line managing, mentoring, coaching and enabling heads of school to flourish;
  • building effective teams and building capacity;
  • leading and embedding change;
  • promoting a culture of high expectations and collaborative working;
  • ensuring the ‘business’ (finance and resources) of the organisation is well led and managed;
  • working with the governing board to develop vision, strategy and ethos;
  • translating vision and strategy into workable operational plans;
  • monitoring and evaluating success; reporting progress and areas of concern to the board;
  • developing the partnership.

EHT’s will not usually have day-to-day interaction with parents at any of the schools, and will not be the ‘face’ of the schools. The ‘face’ of the school and the operational day-to-day leader will be the ‘head of school’ or ‘head of teaching and learning’. This post holder needs to have clarity on their role and responsibilities and the level of authority delegated to them.

EHT’s will not usually have any teaching commitment, but will be responsible for the overall quality of teaching and learning across the organisation.

The EHT will take the one permitted ‘headteacher’ position on the governing board. Heads of School/ Heads of Teaching and Learning will not usually serve on the governing board, unless they are elected as the ‘staff’ governor or co-opted in to a vacancy.