Licensed Programmes


From 2016 onwards note that this is the arrangement with respect to the CatholicLinks Leadership Programmes as published in the prospectus for the year. The CatholicLinks Associate Headteacher and Principals will be the force behind the programmes:

CatholicLinks Leadership Programmes have their origins in the period when the National College for School Leadership was dominant in providing quality leadership programmes for school leaders at various levels of leadership. Margaret Buck, a former Director of Schools of the Diocesan Schools Commission for the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, was active for almost twenty years with the National College, in facilitating, tutoring, assessing, writing and planning leadership programmes to provide for early leaders through to senior leadership teams and headteachers. Her experiences included tutoring Catholic cohorts on ‘Leading from the Middle’, ‘Leadership Pathways’ and the ‘National Professional Qualification for Headship’, as well as writing a half-module for NPQH. She also wrote a suite of Catholic leadership programmes known as the CatholicLinks Leadership Programmes which she has passed on to us.

Now we are the force behind the CatholicLinks Leadership Programmes.

We are pleased to have taken on the strategic and operational management of the CatholicLinks suite of leadership programmes. We act as both the licensed provider and as facilitators of the programmes.

We have a proven track record of success in providing leadership to outstanding schools or academies, and in offering a range of leadership and management services to others.  Working together as a team, collaboratively across the West Midlands area of the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, we facilitate and support the delivery of the programmes and contribute to their further development.

Some of us lead more than one school or academy.  Most of us have experience of academy conversion and working in a multi-academy company setting.  Some of us are leaders of National Teaching Schools working in alliances with other schools in our locality. Some of us have broader experiences such as working as an Ofsted inspector, a Pupil Premium Adviser, a National Leader of Education, or for a Local Authority as a School Improvement Professional.

We all believe passionately in collaborative practice and have worked to support and challenge other schools to raise standards and improve performance, including primary and secondary schools.

We are proud to be Catholic, aim to be inspirational and realistic, aspirational and down-to-earth. We are rooted in our shared faith in Jesus Christ and the practical realities of leading and managing schools, which are complex learning communities. We care deeply about our own schools, the well-being of schools across the Diocese, and improvement of the wider system.

The CatholicLinks licensed leadership and governance programmes are intended to support schools, academies, headteachers, principals, governing bodies and boards of directors, as well as senior leaders and aspiring leaders fulfil their responsibilities to the children and young people they are meant to serve, and support the mission of the Church and the best interests of Catholic education.  All the licensed programmes for the Catholic sector are set within the context of a Catholic school or academy and its mission to make Christ known.

This page provides an overview, subsequent pages provide more detail about the individual licensed programmes.

CatholicLinks aims to provide support:

  • To teaching schools and other outstanding schools with respect to generating and delivering appropriate continuous professional development for aspiring Catholic leaders and leaders in Catholic schools[1].
  • To teaching schools and other outstanding schools with respect to leadership development for Catholic leaders[2].
  • To teaching schools and other outstanding schools with respect to training, development and formation for governors, and directors and academy representatives;
  • To any Catholic school or academy, or group of schools or academies that wish to plan and deliver leadership or governance programmes matched to their distinctive needs as Catholic learning communities.
  • To any HEI that provides continuous professional development for aspiring Catholic leaders, leaders in Catholic schools or academies, and Catholic school communities.


I have engaged with the Moving programmes both as a participant and a facilitator; they have enabled me to develop into the leader that I am today. The programmes have helped me to develop the ability to articulate and share a vision of primary education within the context of the mission of a Catholic academy. I have been able to reflect, understand and share the mission that Christ and the values of the Gospel are at the centre of why we were called to teach and lead. This knowledge and understanding has helped me to develop relationships both in school and across the collegiate that are rooted in Gospel values and the way of Christ; this has aided the academies in our collegiate to work together effectively and successfully for the good of all.

Since I found these programmes so valuable in developing myself as a leader, I have always encouraged colleagues in the two academies I lead, and in the collegiate academies, to engage in them and it has been a privilege to support colleagues developing from the beginning of their careers as NQTs through to taking up deputy headships and headships of their own. A significant number of teachers who have worked for me have engaged in these programmes and are now successfully leading their own schools.

For a number of years, I have also been involved in delivering the ‘Moving Forwards’ and ‘Moving Up’ programmes and it has been gratifying to see the number of candidates who attended these programme who are now successful headteachers in their own right. That in itself speaks volumes of the significance of these programmes and the impact they have had on the professional development of leaders of Catholic schools.

Di Mason

Principal of St Peter’s Catholic Academy, Cobridge, and St Wilfrid’s Catholic Academy, Tunstall, Stoke on Trent. Part of The Newman Catholic Collegiate Multi-Academy Company, Stoke on Trent.

Whether as a candidate or facilitator, I have gained from participating in these programmes spiritually and as a leader. To have the opportunities to observe colleagues developing, living and growing as the people of God, is a privilege to be embraced at every opportunity. The corporate trust which is engendered within the groups provides a powerful mechanism for encouraging, and even inspiring, others to accelerate their journey into headship. Re-visiting the programme materials is recommended as these are also useful at a later stage; often, they evoke deeper learning from reflection on the subsequent experience of leadership if we are prepared to open our hearts and minds, whilst broadening our professional development.

Margaret Yates

Principal of St Gregory’s Catholic Academy, Longton, and St Maria Goretti Catholic Academy, Bentilee, Stoke on Trent. Part of the All Saints Catholic Collegiate Multi-Academy Company, Stoke on Trent.

The Moving programmes challenge the leader with a personal quest.  The quest, a difficult one, is to determine one’s own understanding of the term leadership, one’s own belief in the melding of spiritual destiny and professional reality.  The course, via reflective activity and discussion, provides a road map to successfully complete the quest.

Teachers from a range of backgrounds and leadership experiences join together within positive school environments to share the theory and see the practice.

Personally I have found that the experience has deepened my convictions in the path of leadership.  The formation of leaders begins every day anew in every classroom and these programmes support a journey, which takes the leader from their Newly Qualified year to their experiences in Headship. The programmes offers support, challenge and friendship at all levels.

Debbie Campbell

Head of Teaching School, St Peter’s Cobridge and St Wilfrid’s, C2C Teaching School Alliance, Stoke on Trent.


Licensed Leadership Programmes

The licensed programmes, in particular the licensed leadership programmes, are based on an interactive style of delivery.  Participants are offered the opportunity to extend their knowledge, but they are also invited to participate in activities, tasks and reflection.  They are offered the chance to learn about aspects of Catholic education, policy and practice but they are also encouraged to use and apply their learning.  There is little point in simply expanding what you know, unless that knowledge changes what you do for the better.

The main suite of licensed Catholic leadership programmes is referred to as the ‘Moving …’ programmes.  The concept behind the naming of the programmes is that the participants are moving on a journey, a journey involving training, development and formation, continually learning and growing in their capacity to contribute to or exercise leadership in a Catholic school or academy.

The words ‘training, development and formation’ communicate different emphases in the holistic nature of growing in leadership.

  • Training can be defined as “the action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behaviour.”
  • Development can be defined as “the process of developing or being developed, and is associated with growth, maturity, blossoming”.
  • Formation can be defined as “the experiences that lead to the holistic formation of the human person where all aspects of the person are integrated and flourish.”

In simple terms, it is no good knowing lots of theory if you cannot apply it.  There is limited value in being able to carry out tasks in a purely mechanical fashion, if you do not really understand at a deeper level the theory and principles behind them. There needs to be attention to the beliefs, values and motivations that underpin all that you do as a leader, and which bring harmony to why and how you do what you do.

With respect to the naming of the licensed programmes there is a logic, for example, recently qualified teachers are deciding to make a ‘move’ to broaden their experience.  Recently qualified leaders are ‘moving’ away from being newly qualified into developing and forming as professionals.  Middle leaders are ‘moving on‘ from being an established teacher.  Those aspiring to senior leadership are ‘moving forwards‘ into the arena of whole-school, strategic leadership responsibility.  Those who are ready for headship and ‘moving up‘, possibly need an extra boost of confidence to apply and be interviewed successfully.  Those who are appointed to lead a school or academy are faced with the joys and challenges of working with and through others – thus are ‘moving together‘ towards the vision for the school or academy.

These licensed programmes are based on a face-to-face model of delivery, mainly of 4 days per programme. However, there is considerable opportunity for flexibility of delivery.

  • Moving – designed to meet the needs of recently qualified teachers with aspirations and potential to lead, or established teachers who need encouragement to realise they can step up to the next level.
    • Key question: Do you see yourself applying for a middle leaders post within 18 – 24 months of starting on the programme?
  • Moving On  – designed to meet the needs of middle leaders who are aspiring to be assistant or deputy headteachers / assistant or vice principals, or for really capable middle leaders who need to be encouraged to realise they can step up to the next level. The programme may be suitable for aspirational early middle leaders with ‘fast-track’ potential.
    • Key question: Do you see yourself applying for assistant/deputy headship or an assistant/vice principal post within 18-24 months of starting on the programme?
  • Moving Forwards  – designed to meet the needs of senior leaders who are aspiring to move on to a headship or principal’s post, or for really capable senior leaders who need to be encouraged to realise they can step up to the next level and lead a school or academy. The programme may be suitable for aspirational early senior leaders with ‘fast-track’ potential. It may also be suitable for very experienced and capable middle leaders working in complex organisational settings, e.g. a MAC or a federation or Teaching School, that offer a wide range of experiences for those who want to apply for more complex senior roles, albeit not headship, like a head of school post.
    • Key question: Do you see yourself applying for headship / or a principal post(or a head of school post) within 18 – 24 months of starting the programme?
  • Moving Up  – designed to meet the needs of those senior leaders ready to step up to headship or a principal’s post and would benefit from some support in making an application. They are likely to be in the process of considering applications for such posts and may well have already made applications, albeit they have not yet been successful.
    • Key question: Do you see yourself successfully applying for headship or a principal post within the next school year?
  • Moving Together  – designed to meet the needs of those newly or recently appointed (1 – 3 years) to headship or a principal’s post.
    • Key question: Do you see yourself needing to think more strategically; being more outward facing; considering how to enhance leadership at all levels, build capacity in teams and improve governance?

MA Education  Newman University

Newman University, Birmingham, offers the opportunity for those who have undertaken in-depth, sustained CPD through participation in the CatholicLinks programmes to pursue a route to gain credits towards a master’s degree, based on their reflections of this work.

For further information has been especially prepared by Newman University for participants on CatholicLinks Leadership Programmes watch this:

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) is a process by which learning gained outside academic education or training is assessed and, as appropriate, recognised for academic purposes. Supporting evidence is required to show learning. Typically, in-depth, sustained CPD undertaken can gain masters level credits if you produce evidence mapped to our masters level assessment criteria.

Evidence submitted must meet the criteria for appropriate modules; evidence is usually best presented as an assignment, but may also be presented as a portfolio or recorded verbal presentation.

An MA Education consists of 180 credits. According to national regulations students may claim up to half of the award (i.e. 90 credits) via APEL. This then means that the student will need to complete the other credits within the taught modules.  A maximum of £450 is charged for APEL. The exact fee charged depends upon the length of time needed for assessment i.e. if the student’s evidence clearly meets the assessment criteria then the full fee will not be charged.

To gain master’s level credits via APEL the participant on the CatholicLinks leadership programme must become a student registered with the University.

Licensed Governance Programmes

The licensed governance programmes are mainly designed specifically for school or for academy settings. There are licensed programmes based on a ‘session’ approach as opposed to whole days, so that they may be delivered as individual programmes in twilight sessions.  However, there is considerable opportunity for flexibility of delivery.

  • The roles and responsibilities of governors.
  • The role and responsibilities of directors.
  • Code of Practice for Governance (for a school or for an academy).
  • Succession planning.
  • Appointing leaders.

CatholicLinks can also provide an extended licensed governance programme, which was run in partnership with ELC and NGA, to improve the capacity of boards of directors of academy companies (and academy committees).  This programme could also easily be adapted for governing bodies of schools.

Miscellaneous programmes

There is a variety of other programmes, which may best be explored by contacting CatholicLinks by email to see what we have available. Amongst others, they include:

  • Take 5 – this programme provides a simulated experience of application for headship and the interview process.  This programme can be delivered with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 participants.
  • Change through conversations – this programme explored the twin concepts of change and conversations, and how different types of conversation are used to effect change.
  • Coaching for change and improvement – a programme that helps schools or academies change the culture from one of passivity and dependency towards one of learning-centred leadership, where exercising leadership is seen as a collective activity.

Bespoke programmes

CatholicLinks is prepared to consider working with you to provide a bespoke leadership or governance programme for your school or academy setting.  If you wish to discuss this option please email CatholicLinks.


The main mechanism for accessing the licensed leadership programmes is for you to nominate a licensed facilitator to deliver the licensed CatholicLinks programmes.

You may do this in one of two ways:

  1. You can source a facilitator through CatholicLinks.  CatholicLinks will not charge for this service but the individual facilitator will require you to pay for their facilitation services and you will need to negotiate terms between you, separate from CatholicLinks.
  2. You can apply to be designated as a licensed facilitator of the CatholicLinks licensed programmes.  You will not be charged any fee for applying and being registered, however, you must meet certain criteria as a threshold of expertise and experience in order to be designate as licensed to deliver the programmes.  This is a process by which certain quality assurances are considered and addressed in respect of the delivery of the licensed programmes.  If you wish to do this contact CatholicLinks.

Note, in granting a licence to a licensed facilitator CatholicLinks would also seek to be assured that any planned delivery of the CatholicLinks programmes would be viable in the particular locality, without putting any other planned delivery of the CatholicLinks programmes at risk.  In essence, CatholicLinks would not wish to grant a licence for the delivery of more programmes than were needed to meet the demands of the local market, because this could mean that no single programme was genuinely viable.  CatholicLinks may wish to discuss this when granting a licence.

Organising the delivery of the programmes

Once you have nominated a licensed facilitator of the programmes, then you can plan for access to the licensed programme resources and being to plan the delivery of the programmes to suit your circumstances.

Dedicated website support

Many of these licensed programmes have separate, password protected websites as a resource to support the programmes and extend the learning opportunities.  The use of these websites enables participants to have access to a wide range of resources without the need to produce hard-copies, and provides flexible opportunities for personal reflection.

Optional extension to the licensed programmes

CatholicLinks may advise you how to make the very best of the licensed programmes in your setting, by adding in extra local opportunities depending on your specific context and capacity.

How does it work?

If you wish to progress a CatholicLinks licensed programme, the basic process is as follows:

  • Email CatholicLinks to make an expression of interest.
  • We will contact you and arrange a telephone conversation to ensure there is good match between what you want and what CatholicLinks can offer.  This ensures that you make a good decision about the programme and can move forward with confidence, with the benefit of advice and experience from someone who knows the programmes very well both in terms of content and delivery.
  • CatholicLinks will also take into consideration the distribution of planned programme delivery in relation to your particular locality. The aim would be to make sure any programmes would stand a reasonable chance of recruiting a viable cohort.
  • You will nominate a licensed facilitator (see section above ‘Facilitation’).
  • When you have nominated a licensed facilitator, you will complete a Licensed Programme Registration Form and email it to CatholicLinks, establishing who is the ‘Lead Person’ in your organisation. CatholicLinks will liaise with the ‘Lead Person’ throughout the duration of the programme to completion.
  • CatholicLinks will email the ‘Lead Person’ and provide the necessary information and resources to plan and progress the licensed programme, as well as advice where necessary.

The licensed programmes materials (for example, PowerPoint for delivery, PowerPoint for handouts, reflective journals, task materials, evaluation sheets, et cetera) will be provided as necessary directly to the licensed facilitator.


1. Website support through the provision of a dedicated website – the CatholicLinks fee is a flat rate of £250 for a 4 day programme or equivalent (i.e. shorter sessions that add up to approximately 4 days) and a flat rate of £150 for a 2 day programme or equivalent (i.e. shorter sessions that add up to approximately 2 days).

For this fee, CatholicLinks will provide a dedicated website that provides the programme documents and additional resources, which prevents the need for additional copying, et cetera. This also covers specialist web support and administration of providing user-names and passwords.

2. Programme provision, review, maintenance and personal support fees – CatholicLinks charges a flat rate of ‘10% of the total income from the fees charged of participants before any deductions’. This means that the fee CatholicLinks applies is relative to the numbers recruited.

For this fee, CatholicLinks will ensure that the face to face programme materials and resources are continually reviewed, updated, modified and fit for purpose. The resources include:

  • Programme handbook for participants and facilitators.
  • Self-review for Leadership Schedule.
  • Facilitator’s Notes.
  • PowerPoints.
  • Reflective Journals.
  • Evaluation and monitoring resources.
  • Administrative resources.

CatholicLinks will also offer professional advice and support to the planning and delivery of the programmes, as required, including costing the programmes to ensure maximum benefit at a local level.

Note: if an organiser of a programme at a local level decides not to charge participants fees or to charge fees that simply cover delivery costs only, then in these circumstances the CatholicLinks support fee may be negotiated directly with CatholicLinks. 

CatholicLinks can provide a budget planner to scope the cost of running the programme after the initial telephone conversation to explore the planning of the programme.

Ideally, contact CatholicLinks as soon as you are even expressing an interest in accessing any of the programmes.  Generally, please give 21 working days’ notice to CatholicLinks before you are planning to advertise / deliver the first session of the programme; this allows for dialogue, planning and any modifications to the programme, et cetera. However, it is possible your needs can be met in a much shorter timescale; in most cases your needs can be met either by return or within 5 working days.

Contact details

[1] See NCTL Business Plan April 2014 March 2015.  “By March 2015 we [NCTL] will have ceased most centrally commissioned CPD activity.”

[2] See NCTL Business Plan April 2014 March 2015.  “By 2016, schools will have full responsibility for the identification and training of new leaders, with the national professional qualifications owned and delivered by school partnerships. We will stop paying scholarships for leadership trainees to access the national professional qualification courses and we will expect licensees to operate in an open leadership market. When the current licences expire we will give open access to all national professional training materials. Succession planning and talent management will increasingly be undertaken by schools and school partnerships with some targeted support from NCTL.”

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