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Teacher Leadership Programme

This is an Education Scotland leadership programme.

A central feature of the Teacher Leadership Programme is for participants to understand what teacher leadership means and looks like in practice. As a part of this process participants are supported to take an enquiring approach to developing an aspect of learning and teaching of their choosing as appropriate for the learners in their context.

Covid-19 update

In line with the advice and guidance from the Scottish and UK Governments, we have paused all professional learning and leadership activity, including this programme. We have prepared a set of FAQs which we hope will answer some of the questions you may have at this time. We will update these with additional information as we have it.

Read our FAQs for information on changes to our programmes as a result of Covid-19.

Programme structure

The programme is structured to support participants to confidently take an enquiring approach through first exploring teacher leadership, reflecting on current practice and considering the nature and purpose of enquiry. Participating teachers then plan and implement an enquiring approach to developing their classroom practice in their context. The programme also supports teachers to reflect on the learning arising in terms of their own leadership as well as for their learners.

Participants are expected to attend three events in person:

  • an induction day in August/September, where participants meet their programme lead and examine the concepts of teacher leadership
  • a recall day in January, where participants deepen their understanding around the purpose and process of enquiry
  • a national Sharing the Learning Summit in June, where participants share their own learning and can explore the enquiring approaches taken by others.

The programme is also facilitated online through Glow. Throughout the programme, participants are supported and challenged by their peers, critical friends and the programme leads.

There are also optional professional learning workshops for participants to attend, focusing on specific elements of practice that could inform their enquiry focus. To find out more about these please see the ‘TLP Workshops’ tab at the bottom of this page.

This programme has a focus on leadership of learning and teaching and is therefore not primarily designed as a route to promotion.

What are the benefits?

The Teacher Leadership Programme is a developmental programme which supports participants to enhance their confidence and skills; there is no SCQF accreditation or pass/fail element to the programme. Completion certificates are given to participants who complete the programme, including participating in regular online interaction and sharing their learning at the national summit in June.

The programme is informed throughout by the GTCS Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and participants are offered support to make an individual application for GTCS Professional Recognition if they choose.

Participants in the programme often explain the impact of the programme on their professional identities:

“The programme allows teachers to develop leadership skills that they previously may not have known existed within themselves. That transformation in your own mind is quite powerful.”

“The Teacher Leadership Programme has worked its magic and I would highly recommend it to anyone. You have brought vigour and purpose back to an experienced teacher and for that I say thank you!”

Who is it for?

The Teacher Leadership Programme is open to all post-probation classroom teachers in Scotland. It is primarily aimed at teachers who are seeking professional learning opportunities to develop their leadership of learning and teaching in their context and who are willing to commit to all aspects of the programme. No previous enquiry or formal leadership experience is required to apply.

The Teacher Leadership Programme also provides opportunities for teachers who have completed the programme to support participants as Critical Friends. Critical Friends use their prior experience to support a group of participants in their learning through regular contributions to their online journals. The Critical Friend role is undertaken on a voluntary basis and provides an opportunity for teachers to develop their understanding of, and skills in, supporting peers in their professional learning. If you are interested in being a Critical Friend please read the section at the bottom of this page.

Duration and key dates

The programme runs over one academic year with key dates as follows:

  • Applications: January to May
  • Regional Induction Day: August/September
  • Regional Recall Day: January
  • National Sharing the Learning Summit: June
How is the programme delivered?

The programme is delivered online through Glow with three contact days at the start, middle and end for participants to learn and share in person. The first contact day is a regional induction event in August/September, the second is a regional recall day in January and the third day is a national Sharing the Learning Summit for all participants.

Throughout the year, participants are encouraged to reflect on their learning journey through a blog and are supported in that by a Programme Lead, Critical Friends and peers on the programme.

There are also additional professional learning workshops for participants to attend, focusing on specific elements of practice that could inform their enquiry focus. These are optional workshops.

Funding and costs

As the Professional Learning and Leadership Team is currently funded to develop a suite of programmes, participation in the programme is free of charge. There is no funding for class cover, however a limited fund for travel expenses is available for participants who have significant travel demands attributed to their participation in the programme. For example, if you are attending from the Scottish Islands and other more remote areas of Scotland.

You can enquire further about this fund by emailing Stephanie.Peat@educationscotland.gov.scot.

Applying for the programme and further information

Recruitment for the programme is now closed. Applicants will find out the status of their application by 31 May 2020. 

TLP 2021-2022

Applicants for the next cohort will open in January 2021. Keep an eye on this site and our Twitter account for more information.

No previous enquiry or formal leadership experience is required to apply, however applicants are asked to complete a short, online form.

Although applications are open to all, because you require time out of school we recommend that you discuss your application with your line manager.

For further information about this programme, or for an informal discussion with a Lead Specialist, contact us at edspll@educationscotland.gov.scot.

Practitioner enquiry posters

Participants on the Teacher Leadership Programme produce posters which explain their enquiry journey over the course of the programme. These posters come in all shapes and sizes and are a fantastic insight into enquiring practice in the classroom. 

View practitioner enquiry posters

TLP Workshops

This year as an enhanced offer for the Teacher Leadership Programme we are prototyping a suite of professional learning workshops, focusing on specific elements of practice that could inform an enquiring approach. The twilight workshops are held over 2019/2020, free of charge, delivered by a range of professionals and held in venues across the six Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs).

View and book the TLP Workshops

Critical Friends

A Critical Friend is a previous participant who has successfully completed the programme and chosen, as part of their continuing professional learning, to support others through the programme. This is a great opportunity to use your experiences and skills to enhance the programme experience for other colleagues across Scotland.

The Critical Friends are assigned to support the RIC in which they work to increase the opportunity for networking and collaboration.

Critical Friends take on a supportive and collegial role adding to the support given by the Programme Leads. However, Critical Friends are not the same as programme leads as they are current, practising classroom practitioners who have undertaken enquiry. Critical Friends are expected to read the blogs of the group they have been assigned to and offer their perspective, support and challenge.

Critical Friends will be supported in their role by the Programme Leads throughout. This will include the opportunity to: attend face-to-face programme days; contribute to shaping the programme; take part in online learning tasks and reading to further develop their leadership skills.