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Inside a middle leader's brain

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The full version of this article featured on the NAHT Edge blog on 12 January.

Following the popularity of our "brain charts" showing the share of article views for headteachers, deputy heads and governors, we've looked to see how the focus of middle leaders differs.

Of all the roles we've taken our data scalpel to, middle leaders have the most even spread of attention across the five areas of support available on The Key for School Leaders. As might be expected for roles closer to the coal-face of teaching, a higher proportion of their viewed articles concern pupils and parents when compared to articles viewed by headteachers or deputies.

Looking at SENCOs separately, we can see a very strong focus on pupils and parents.

The majority of The Key’s articles that deal with SEN management are within the 'pupils and parents' area of the website. This helps to explain why SENCOs appear to spend such a large proportion of their time on The Key browsing that particular area. But that is not to say that issues surrounding SEN are only popular with SENCOs, as a list of the most popular questions across other middle leaders shows.

  1. Do you have a summary of the SEND Code of Practice (2014)?
  2. Assessment without levels: what does it mean for schools?
  3. What are the main changes in education in 2014/15?
  4. What must schools publish on their websites?
  5. What changes to inspection came into force in 2014?
  6. Are there any SEN policies that comply with the 2014 Code of Practice?
  7. Is there a checklist for observing lessons in line with the Ofsted framework?
  8. How should we set appraisal targets relating to pupil progress?
  9. Do you have a learning walk proforma based on the Ofsted framework?
  10. Assessment without levels: how are primary schools responding?

The above list contains the ten articles most popular with middle leaders on The Key for School Leaders during the autumn term. We’ve excluded SENCOs, but still you can see that questions concerning SEN are still popular across the rest of the middle leadership spectrum. In addition to the SEN reforms, other topics which were most popular with middle leaders included inspection, lesson observation and assessment without levels.

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