The West Partnership

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Leadership, Empowerment & Improvement

The Leadership, Empowerment & Improvement Workstream is designed to promote connections across the eight local authorities and support collaborative improvement across the West Partnership.

A range of opportunities are available for teachers, middle and senior leaders with a focus on enhancing practice and developing capacity for leading school improvement. These are laid out in the tiles below.

Alison Drever


Leadership, Empowerment & Improvement



We are working to achieve this through a wide variety of activities including:

Improving Our Schools

Improving Our Schools (IOS) is a year-long programme involving all practitioners and senior leaders within a primary school. The focus of IOS is the same as the other programmes in this family, Improving Our Classrooms and Improving Our Departments and Faculties (currently running as a pilot):

• improved learning and teaching
• the use of data informed targeted interventions
• improved attainment and achievement
• a relentless focus on equity and excellence for all children and young people; and for IOS
• nurturing a collective responsibility for improvement across the whole school.

IOS is designed to part of the School Improvement Plan (SIP) and flexible to work in different contexts. The focus of the programme in each school is driven by their self-evaluation evidence. Participating schools include it in the SIP and Working Time Agreement.

There are five afternoon sessions for school leaders between March 2023 and May 2024. The final session in June sees leaders from participating schools come together to share what they have done and what difference it has made in their context.

If you’d like to know more, please contact

Recruitment starts in January each year and the programme begins in March.

Improving Our Departments & Faculties Pilot

A pilot for Improving Our Department / Faculties (IOD/F) is currently underway and will run until June 2024. A broad range of subjects and schools across seven local authorities have opted to take part.

The focus of this is the same as the other Improving Our programmes:

• improved learning and teaching
• the use of data informed targeted interventions
• improved attainment and achievement
• a relentless focus on equity and excellence for all children and young people; and
• collaboration and the development of networks for participants.

The development work for IOD/F has been undertaken by a cross-authority group made up of PTs, faculty heads and DHTs over the last year. They have trialled the model as they’ve built it and are also part of the pilot.
This is absolutely designed to be a part of a DIP / FIP and flexible to work in as many contexts as possible, across both the Broad General Education and the Senior Phase. Programme activity is undertaken as part of ongoing planned improvement work.

There are five afternoon sessions for principal teachers between March 2023 and May 2024. The final session in June sees leaders from participating schools come together to share what they have done and what difference it has made in their context.

If you’d like to know more or would be interested in participating contact 

Recruitment will start again in January 2024 with the programme beginning in March.

#ThinkHexagon© 2022 Coaching

The West Partnership is delighted to be collaborating with The Mudd Partnership again this session. This programme is for experienced headteachers and centre leaders. There is a limited number of places available.

This innovative new approach to group and individual leadership coaching gives a group of six experienced HTs the opportunity to consider their leadership from six points of intersection (personal, professional, individual, team, organisation, system). In addition to participation in the six organised and facilitated sessions there is an expectation that you self-organise to work with your Hexagon colleagues to support and challenge each other using Hexagon thinking between the sessions. You may also find it helpful to view this short film about the approach on YouTube. 

Headteachers with more than five years of experience. 

Headteachers are brought together in groups of six. Over a period of six months, there are six facilitated sessions, three of these take place in the group and three are individual. Further opportunities to connect and work together are organised and facilitated by members of the Hexagon. Participants are also required to contribute to the ongoing evaluation of the programme. 

Hexagon coaching will be run in two blocks. 

•  Cohort one October to April 

•  Cohort two January to June 

What is Thinking About Headship?

Thinking About Headship (TAH) is a year-long programme that is a preparatory step for those on the journey towards headship. It is delivered by the West Partnership.

TAH supports participants to:

Who is TAH for?

Thinking About Headship (TAH) is a programme for practitioners in any sector who are beginning their journey to being a headteacher but don’t feel quite ready to undertake Into Headship. It is aimed at effective deputy headteachers and principal teachers with at least two years of experience in a school-based leadership role and whose next role is likely to be that of headteacher. Working with colleagues in similar roles in other local authorities, the programme supports practitioners to develop their understanding of leadership from a strategic perspective. All participants are required to have the support of their headteacher before applying.

What does the programme look like?

The programme has a number of different elements that are described below.

1. Participant groups

Participants are placed in a small group and work together for the duration of the programme. Where at all possible, groups are set-up so that there are different local authorities and sectors represented. This allows for rich discussion and learning across the year, supports collaboration and gives the opportunity to develop cross-authority networks. There are also opportunities to work with other participants at different points too, including in sector-specific groups.

2. Headteacher supporters

Each group is allocated an experienced headteacher who works with them across the year. The headteacher supporters facilitate group discussions at TAH sessions. This provides an invaluable source of support, expertise and perspective.

3. Sessions one to ten, September to April

These sessions combine:

This provides participants with a range of perspectives across the Scottish education system and the opportunity to consider these in relation to their own leadership journey. Sessions take place both online and face-to-face and last between an hour and a half and two hours. Most take place at the end of the school day but a small number are run together during the school day.

4. The reflective frameworks, September to May

A set of reflective frameworks and practical tools are used to support sessions one to ten. These are shared in order to support participants in reflecting on:

The frameworks are used to support professional dialogue across the sessions. This allows participants to reflect both on their own and other’s leadership experiences. At the end of the programme participants engage in a reflective professional discussion with a small number of senior education staff. The purpose of this is to support participants to critically reflect on what they have learned and consider what their next steps are.

Where can I find out more?

Please speak to your headteacher in the first instance and share this information with them so you can discuss whether this is the right opportunity for you.

Applications open after the Spring break and close towards the end of May. Please get in touch with the officer who has the responsibility for leadership development in your local authority or email Alison Drever, West Partnership workstream lead officer: if you would like to know more or would like an application form.

Participant Testimonials

‘Thinking about Headship has provided me with the fantastic opportunity to learn from a range of inspiring Head Teachers and other leaders, as well as the space and support to reflect on my role as a leader and the role of Head Teacher. I would highly recommend this course to other aspiring Head Teachers.’

Improvement Plan 2022-23

Download here.

Curriculum, Learning, Teaching & Assessment

Collaborative learning

Wellbeing for Learning


Leadership, Empowerment & Improvement


Evaluating & Reporting


West OS


Events & Communication

Light bulb ideas


Remote Learning

Remote Learning

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