Windsor Academy Trust, Trinity Point, High St, Halesowen B63 3HY

Empowering Leaders the WAT Way: Unveiling Our Leadership Framework and Program at the World Education Summit

30th March 2023

Looking back at an incredible World Education Summit  it was a real privilege to be joined by my colleagues Dawn Haywood (CEO), Dr. Dan Owen (Director of Secondary), and Matt Meckin (Director of Primary), for us to deliver a session entitled "What Makes a WAT Leader." The session explored the importance of developing school leaders and how the Windsor Academy Trust (WAT) is empowering leadership across our family of schools.

Dawn began by providing some background information about our trust, including our values and vision, and our commitment to professional development, particularly leadership development. She explained how leadership is a critical factor in the success of high-performing schools and strong school groups, and how our family is dedicated to providing our leaders with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to be effective.

I then shared details about the "What Makes a WAT Leader'' programme itself and how we developed our own leadership framework with the help of Anne-Marie Duguid, which underpins our approach to leadership development “the WAT way”. I explained how self-review, agreed review, and progress reviews are conducted, and how leadership coaching is incorporated into the process. The programme is designed to help our leaders identify their strengths and areas for development, set goals, and work towards continuous improvement through suggested CPL opportunities identified by their leadership coaches.

Dan and Matt both shared their insights on the impact the programme is having on our leaders across our schools. They gave practical examples and strategies for developing leadership effectiveness and impact across a group of schools. They explained how the programme is helping our leaders to become more reflective, self-aware, and proactive, and how this is translating into all round stronger leadership across our schools as well as our leaders feeling valued and celebrated.

One of the key takeaways from our session is the importance of a strong leadership framework that is grounded in the values and vision of the WAT family. The WAT leadership framework is based on the components of leadership that matter most to us. By focusing on these areas, we are able to ensure that our leaders have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to lead a successful school within our family.

Another key takeaway is the importance of ongoing professional development and support for school leaders. The "What Makes a WAT Leader'' programme is just one example of the many ways we support our leaders. All of our school leaders also have the opportunity to engage in the National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) that we deliver as well as all being provided with tickets to attend the World Education Summit and its vast array of speakers from across the sector, helping them to build their leadership skills and knowledge.

In conclusion, our session at the World Education Summit highlighted the critical role that leadership development plays in the success of high-performing schools and school groups. The WAT leadership framework and "What Makes a WAT Leader" programme provide a comprehensive and practical approach to developing effective school leaders. By investing in our leaders, we are investing in the future success of our students and schools.


Leyla Palmer

Head of Professional Learning and Talent

Windsor Academy Trust