What is a lead practitioner?

Overview

Lead practitioners will model excellent practice, sharing their skills and experience with other teachers. You might be interested in taking on a lead practitioner role at your school or may already be in post.

In this article we look at what activities lead practitioners can be expected to complete, how much you will be paid and if there are recruitment procedures.

Lead practitioner role and responsibilities

The Department for Education (DfE) has published advice for schools on implementing pay for school staff. It explains that lead practitioners should take a leadership role in developing, implementing and evaluating policies and practice in their workplace that contribute to school improvement. This might include:

  • Coaching, mentoring and induction of teachers, including trainees and NQTs
  • Disseminating materials and advising on practice, research and CPD provision
  • Assessment and impact evaluation, including through demonstration lessons and classroom observation
  • Supporting the school or groups of schools in provision of high-quality schemes of work to reduce workload
  • Helping teachers who are experiencing difficulties

The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) explains that teachers on the lead practitioner pay range have the same professional responsibilities and benefit from the same rights conferred as all other teachers. 

Additional duties relevant to the role in modelling and leading improvement of teaching skills may be included in individual job descriptions.

What can it look like in practice?

Below, we look at two examples of how lead practitioners practice in schools.

At Minsthorpe Community College in West Yorkshire lead practitioners spend the majority of their time (60%) with the students they teach. They also work on the following activities:

  • Curriculum area teaching and learning support for a whole team or an individual basis
  • Support in the implementation of whole-college initiatives
  • Individual staff support/coaching including that of trainee and newly qualified teachers
  • Whole college INSET planning and delivery
  • Co-ordinating the learning and teaching network with TLR holders from each curriculum team

At Twynham School in Dorset one of the lead practitioners explains:

“I lead the teaching and learning steering group and also run the wider teaching and learning dialogue group. Our focus is always on how we can improve learning for our students using the ‘responsive teaching’ model. I have worked on projects within school on feedback, questioning and the use of lesson study. More recently I have led INSET on the movement away from levels at KS3 and how we can design effective curriculums for our students.”

Lead practitioner pay range

If you teach in a maintained school in England, you will be paid accordingly to the nationally agreed pay scale, as outlined in the STPCD. If you teach in an academy, free school or independent school, your pay will be set according to your school’s pay policy.

The Leading Practitioner Pay Range rewards consistently high-performing teachers who wish to focus on modelling excellent practice and raising the standard of teaching across the school.

A school’s pay policy will outline the requirements and availability of these posts, as well as where in the range a teacher will be paid. The pay range is as follows:

England (excluding the London area)Inner London areaOuter London areaFringe area
Minimum£41,267£49,065£44,541£42,403
Maximum£62,735£70,540£66,012£63,874

To see how the lead practitioner pay range compares to the other pay ranges please see another article which lists staff pay scales

Are there recruitment rules which schools must follow?

The STPCD explains that schools have discretion to create posts for qualified teachers whose primary purpose is modelling and leading improvement of teaching skills. There are no national criteria for appointment to such posts. 

Schools should advertise any vacancies and appoint candidates as they would do for other vacancies, satisfying themselves that successful candidates can demonstrate excellence in teaching and will be able to contribute to leading the improvement of teaching skills.

Can a school have more than one lead practitioner?

Yes. The STPCD explains, if a school creates more than one post, the individual pay ranges for each post should be determined separately and may differ to reflect the different demands and challenges of each post.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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