Succession planning – the key to success

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					 Succession planning –
 the key to success

All high-performing organisations
need leaders with a range of
experience. Leadership training
alone cannot provide the hands-on
experience that is critical for creating
skilled and confident leaders.

        uccession      planning       is   Core components of a
        fundamental to the future          succession plan
        success of your school. A
robust plan will enable you to take        There is no one model for succession
positive steps to identify and develop     planning and there are no hard and     Ask yourself
talented leaders in your school. If you    fast rules. But most good succession
plan ahead, you will have a greater        plans will include the following       • What staffing and skills do we need to implement
chance of securing a supply of well-       components:                              the school development plans?
qualified leaders for the future.
                                           • The future of the school – how       • What posts do we know we have to fill to replace
The process of succession planning           it is likely to change over the        staff leaving in the next two to three years?
will help you to identify your current       coming years
and future leadership needs so that        • Key short, medium and long term      • Are we confident in our capacity to cope with
you can retain, recruit and develop          goals of your school (informed by      resignations or long-term absences?
leaders with the right mix of skills,        your school improvement plan and
qualifications and experience to             other key strategic initiatives)     • How does our staffing profile compare with similar
deliver your short, medium and long        • Identification of the key skills       schools?
term priorities. Your succession plan        required to deliver those goals
should filter down through your            • A grid mapping out your current      • Do we have links with other schools to share
entire staff structure so that you can       leadership structure (including        opportunities for leadership development?
identify and harness talent at every         skills and experience)
level. This will enable you to create      • A grid mapping out your ideal        • Can we use forthcoming recruitment opportunities
opportunities for talented teachers          leadership structure (including        to strengthen leadership capacity?
to grow into leadership roles more           skills and experience)
rapidly while finding ways to utilise      • Gaps between where you are and       • Can we improve the marketing of vacancies
more experienced leaders.                    where you want to be                   to highlight our commitment to leadership
                                           • An action plan outlining how           development?
                                             you will address any gaps in your
                                             leadership capability                • How do we integrate leadership development into
                                                                                    the appraisal process?
Step-by-step                               • Examine        how         leadership   • Think about how you can integrate
succession planning                          responsibilities are distributed. Can     leadership development into
                                             you revisit this to ensure that your      your performance management
Map out your current leadership              leaders are constantly challenged         process
structure                                    and have opportunities to grow?         • Ensure that your most talented
• Include the tenure, age and skills       • Are you giving your most                  staff know that you are aware of
   profile of existing senior and            experienced leaders the opportunity       their potential – recognition is a
   middle management teams                   to have an input into the future          critical component of motivation
• Outline the current distribution of        growth and development of the             and engagement.
   responsibilities                          school?
• Log any future retirement or             • Ensure that their contribution is       Strengthen your leadership
   leaving dates.                            valued and recognised through           capacity through recruitment
                                             your performance management             Every time you recruit, you have the
Map out your desired leadership              process                                 opportunity to improve your mix of
structure                                  • Find out about the leadership           leadership skills and experience.
• Using your school improvement              development opportunities that
   plan and any other relevant               exist in your area and ensure that      When a vacancy arises it is good
   strategic initiatives, list the most      they are available to your team         practice to review your current
   important things that your school       • Look at opportunities for               structure     and distribution of
   needs to achieve                          partnering with local schools           responsibilities and skills prior to
• Map out the ideal leadership               or businesses to provide more           starting your recruitment campaign.
   structure to support your strategic       varied leadership development           This process will enable you to think
   plans                                     opportunities                           about any skills gaps that you have
• Make a list of the skills that will      • Consider setting up mentoring           in your leadership structure and how
   enable you to achieve those goals         schemes to encourage your more          you might bring those skills into
• Highlight the skills that you already      experienced leaders to support          your school when filling the current
   have within your leadership teams         and nurture new or future               vacancy.
• Identify the gaps between the              leaders
   current and desired structure (short/   • Look at alternative working             It is also important to take the time
   long term).                               patterns, such as flexible working      to think about how you can use your
                                             or additional support with some         recruitment campaigns to attract
Creating a succession plan to bring          of their responsibilities, to enable    the best leaders and demonstrate
the two together                             them to achieve a healthy work-         your commitment to leadership
• Identify the steps that need to be         life balance.                           development.
   taken to bridge any gaps
• Map out opportunities for other          Identify teachers who have                 Working with other schools
   leaders in the school                   leadership potential                       How does your school’s staffing profile compare with
• Create a strategy for the skills that    Leadership skills can’t be acquired        other schools in your area? This will provide you with
   need to be developed and the skills     through training programmes alone.         a useful benchmark in terms of your own leadership
   that need to be brought in              Schools need leaders with hands-           structure.
• Create a recruitment strategy            on experience. Use your succession
                                                                                      For smaller schools it is often difficult to create
   around your future skills needs         planning process to help you identify
                                                                                      enough opportunities for leadership development
• Think about how you can use your         and nurture the leaders of tomorrow
                                                                                      within your current structure. In these circumstances
   performance management systems          and put in place development
                                                                                      it is well worth looking at how you might work with
   to develop and nurture your             initiatives to help them develop the
                                                                                      neighbouring schools and businesses to create and share
   existing talent.                        skills they need.
                                                                                      opportunities for leadership development. This will
                                                                                      also enable you to create a pool of mentors across your
Retain and develop existing leaders        • Are you aware of the career
                                                                                      area and investigate secondment opportunities. Local
Retaining existing leaders can help          aspirations of your most talented
                                                                                      authorities will often have initiatives for encouraging
to ease any short to medium term             staff? It is important that you
                                                                                      leadership development across schools and it is well
recruitment challenges that you might        understand and take an interest in
                                                                                      worth investigating this option first.
have. They also have a key role in           their professional goals
supporting and mentoring new and           • Consider      opportunities     for
future leaders.                              internal and external training and       Call us
It is important to think about what          mentoring
you can offer to ensure that your          • Look at additional responsibilities     Telephone: 020 3194 3038
experienced leaders remain engaged           that you can give them to broaden       Email:
and motivated. For example:                  their experience and skills   

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