We place exceptional teachers in their first Senior Leadership Team post in a school for excluded children, and deliver specialist training to support improved outcomes.

Teaching excluded pupils should be be pinnacle of the profession: the most challenging, complex and rewarding work in education, requiring expert skills. But for too long Alternative Provision (AP) Schools have received the least professional development and focus on recruitment. PRUs and other AP schools often struggle to recruit the expert staff they need.

We know that there is often limited professional development and no specific induction or training for teachers who work in the AP sector. The Difference will addresses the AP leadership gap, celebrating the hard work of the AP space whilst bringing mainstream expertise into the sector. 

The Difference training programme works with its partner schools to improve outcomes for excluded young people. We recruit exceptional teachers to their first leadership position in AP, leading on teaching and learning. This addresses the AP leadership gap and brings mainstream expertise whilst also learning from the experienced and dedicated individuals in the sector.

Our alumni become mainstream Senior Leaders, working systemically to reduce exclusion.

Pupil mental health and safeguarding are the fastest growing concerns for school leaders, and areas in the country with the lowest educational outcomes also face complex challenges linked to health and social care. Yet there is little specialist training to upskill leaders in school-based interventions and working multi-agency to support safeguarding and mental health needs.

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After their two year programme placement, we will be reintroducing a pool of specialist talent – our Difference Leaders - back into mainstream schools. As mainstream SLT, our leaders will cascade their knowledge of mental health and safeguarding, lead inclusive whole school policy and drive long term systemic change.

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This is a much-needed initiative to address the complex problem of school exclusion. Schools need to work closely with social care and mental health services to support our most disadvantaged pupils. ARK Schools welcome the development of The Difference, and its ambition to create a new generation of specialist school leaders.
— Lucy Heller, CEO of Ark multi-academy trust

This is a great initiative. Schools need to ensure they have teachers who really care about the character and competence of every student, regardless of their starting point. This programme is so vital because it provides teachers with the expertise and evidence base of education interventions needed to support the most vulnerable learners.
— John Murphy, CEO of Oasis multi-academy trust