STEPS into Leadership 

A professional learning programme to build the capacity of new or aspiring middle leaders.


Once teachers begin to actively support learning beyond their individual classroom, they may have progressed to the stage of middle learning leaders. The Steps into Leadership programme has been developed for new and aspiring middle leaders. It is part of the leadership continuum of professional learning and provides teachers with a pathway to leadership.  The programme  is designed to build the capacity of new or aspiring middle leaders to lead impactful and positive change in their school setting.  This year-long  professional learning opportunity includes a school-based improvement project (SIP) providing the opportunity to put professional learning into practice.

Key Objectives

The progamme will provide new and aspiring middles leaders with the opportunity to engage in professional learning that will:

  • Inspire, support and challenge through a research informed programme;
  • Challenge and develop thinking about key leadership issues;
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration and engagement with other middle leaders across NI; and
  • Build capacity to lead an aspect of school improvement through taking the lead role in a school improvement project (SIP), which has a direct impact on improving pupil outcomes.


The programme comprises six online modules exploring five themes: 

  • Vision and values;
  • Developing self and working with others;
  • Leading learning and teaching;
  • Leading and managing change; and
  • Building professional learning communities.

The final day focusses on the presentation of the school improvement project, its impact on pupils and a review of key learning.
Phase-specific tutor groups will also take place to complement and further explore the learning of each of the five themes. 


Teachers who have completed the programme have commented:

  • I have become more systemic in my approach to planning change.  
  • I strongly realise the impact of relationships and the power they have to drive change.
  • I am now more aware of collaborating with others and seeking to build on these learning communities.  I needed to develop understanding and skills of working with others and the video clips and reading material supported me in growing as a leader.
  • It has been immensely rewarding to see my School Improvement Project have a positive impact on the students and improve my collaboration with colleagues. 
  • I have found the research and literature available on how to be an effective leader very thought provoking. 

Further Information

Please contact the Professional Learning and Development – School Leadership team for further information [email protected].

Last updated: 30/10/2023