Become an Academy Associate

The National Academy for Education Leadership (Leadership Academy) is committed to ensuring that Wales is a great place to be an educational leader and that through high quality leadership across the educational system we deliver our bold ambition for learners.

To help us meet this bold ambition, we are looking for effective and credible leaders from across Wales to join the current group of Associates and become the next group of Associates of the Academy.

The role of the successful Associates will be to:

  • Have a key role in helping to enable a close working relationship between the Academy and the education system, ensuring an effective interface between policy and practice.
  • Support specific areas of development by playing a role on working groups and panels.
  • Have an active role in supporting the quality assurance area of work for the Leadership Academy not just through endorsement but also supporting and bringing forward innovative approaches to leadership development in Wales.
  • Represent the ‘voice of practice’ within and beyond the Academy
  • Play a key role in supporting the design, development and commissioning of leadership development provision
  • Engage in research that will support the concept of schools as learning organisations
  • Work on key strategic areas of system-wide improvement
  • Ensure that the work of the Associates is in line with the new National Approach of Professional Learning
  • Have an outward facing role, working with and through a range of networks to ensure that the whole educational sector feels connected to the Academy and understands its values and principles
  • Play a key role in building ‘system leadership’ capability and capacity across Wales and in helping others to develop the capability to support other leaders
  • Produce content for the Leadership Academy website and support the development through blogs, case studies of your own experiences.

Time commitment

The expected time commitment required to carry out the role will vary across weeks and according to the interest and expertise of the Associate, but is expected to be at least a day a week for the first year

The Associate Learning Experience has been designed to achieve two outcomes. It will develop the leadership skills required to operate as a system leader and lead strategic reform while also helping to equip you for the role of Associate of the Academy. It will consist of a series of core seminars and there will be an opportunity for the Associates to work together as a Communities of Enquiry that supports the commission which will address issues of national significance on behalf of the Academy.

For the initial 12 months period the Leadership Academy will provide a contribution to the releasing school of £12,000.  Funding for future years is currently being considered by the Leadership Academy and will subject to priorities, available budget, level of participation and mutually agreed.

Selection Criteria

For this next round of Associates, we are specifically interested in appointing Associates from special schools, PRUs, all through schools, Welsh medium schools, secondary schools and schools situated in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Powys. Each school will be at different stages of their improvement journey and all leaders are invited to consider how far they meet the criteria below and the specific expertise and experience they can bring to the role of the Associate.

The successful Associate will be expected to demonstrate the following in their current and/or previous roles:

  • Is a current serving Headteacher in a school or other setting with a minimum of five years successful leadership experience
  • Has knowledge and use of the new Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership
  • Is able to demonstrate improvement across a range of areas in current or previous settings
  • Is able to demonstrate and evidence impact in areas other than one’s own area of work
  • Is able to demonstrate collaboration and networking
  • Is able to evidence wider work experience that has helped to successfully address system-wide issues at cluster, regional or national level
  • Is able to show how their commitment to education in Wales is demonstrated through their leadership
  • Has an interest in leadership development and adult learning

The Associate role will offer stretch and challenge which will provide significant reward and accomplishment in terms of leadership development for the successful applicant while also providing an opportunity to make a difference at national level.

The following will also be taken into consideration when assessing applications:

  • The applicant will need to ensure that there is enough leadership capacity within the current organisation or available to the educational setting from its collaborative working arrangements, for an aspirant leader to step up and lead whilst the Associate is out working in the wider system
  • The applicant will be a role model for leadership and will need to demonstrate high level interpersonal skills coupled with effective communication
  • The applicant will be subject to confidential and politically sensitive information and will need to demonstrate the ability to work effectively in this context

Application Process

Those interested in the role will:

  1. Be required to have their application endorsed by their Chair of Governors and their Regional Consortia
  2. Need to ensure that there is enough leadership capacity in their own setting for an aspirant leader to step up and lead whilst the Associate is out working in the wider system
  3. Provide a personal statement which reflects the selection criteria and shows and demonstrates experience and expertise that the candidate can bring to the role of Associate.

Your application will be assessed by a panel consisting of staff members, some of the current Associates and an independent member. Short listed candidates will be invited to attend an interview on the 3rd or 4th March 2020. Successful candidates will be informed in writing by 12th March 2020. If applicants are not selected on this occasion, there will be other opportunities in the future.

Your personal statement will be endorsed by your Chair of Governors and a Regional Consortia representative as follows:

‘I fully support______ application to be an Associate of the National Academy for Educational Leadership and can confirm that there is sufficient leadership capacity in the school.’

The Leadership Academy welcomes applications from candidates who can demonstrate their capability to work in both English and Welsh.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance and support and guidance in the Associate’s Role will be provided by the Assistant Director for Leadership Development and Quality Assurance. Associates will be subject to annual reviews and will have performance development conversations with the Assistant Director and Chief Executive.


An individual’s role as an Associate can be terminated with 3 months notice at any point by the individual or by the Leadership Academy. In exceptional circumstances the Leadership Academy reserves the right to terminate the Associate role immediately.


Application process opens

  • Advertised on Leadership Academy website and Twitter
  • Advertised via consortia websites / newsletters / media channels
  • Advertised via WG media channels
January 2020
Application process closes 7 February 2020
Short listing applications

11 February 2020

Leadership Academy Associates selection panel interviews 3 & 4 March 2020
Candidates informed of the outcome from the selection panel
W/C 9 March 2020
Associate Role begins

Please note that the induction for new Associates will take place over 2 days during 1 and 2 April 2020

1 April

To apply, please send your application supporting evidence to

For further information regarding the above, please contact Kirsty Payne on