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Leadership Development

NPQ Case Study: Ben Clayton, Deputy Headteacher


Ben Clayton, Deputy Headteacher across Saxton CE Primary and Monk Fryston CE Primary, embarked on the NPQH program in October 2022. Having spent six years at his previous school and risen from a class teacher to Deputy Headteacher, Ben recognised the need to further develop professionally, specifically in preparation for the challenges of assuming a Headteacher role. Discussions with the School Improvement Leader of Elevate Trust, his employer at the time, led him to view NPQH as an excellent opportunity to enhance his leadership skills and address certain areas where he felt less comfortable or competent, such as governance.


Ben's primary goal in participating in NPQH was to deepen his understanding of the pedagogy and practices essential for effective headship. He sought not only to build a comprehensive understanding of the role but also to challenge and refine his own perceptions of headship.

NPQ Experience

Initially finding the prospect of virtual seminars on unfamiliar leadership topics daunting, Ben discovered a supportive and enriching environment in the NPQH program. Facilitated by Mike Roper, the seminars provided a safe space for challenging discussions in a coaching and professional manner. Pre-seminar assessments, readings, and prior tasks ensured well-informed contributions, fostering meaningful discussions.

The self-directed study allowed Ben to engage with materials at his own pace, with well-timed intervals between seminars for reflection. The School Visit Unit provided insights into leadership challenges beyond his own experience, fostering personal development in areas such as behaviour and curriculum.

Networking opportunities at NPQ conferences allowed Ben to build valuable professional and personal connections, resulting in working partnerships with other leaders.

Gains from NPQ Participation

Participation in NPQH equipped Ben with enhanced skills in creating School Development Plans, policy development and updates, leadership in teaching and learning, community partnership building, and complaint resolution. Subsequently, he secured a successful appointment as a non-teaching Deputy Headteacher across two schools.

Key Takeaways

  • The NPQH program facilitated Ben's professional growth and leadership development.
  • The NPQH experience offered opportunities for challenge and critical thinking throughout the study, fostering a deeper understanding of effective leadership.

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