Last Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Distributed leadership in Shortlees Primary School, East Ayrshire

What is this?

​A look at how staff, learners and parents are empowered as part of a distributed leadership model in the Scottish Attainment Challenge in Shortlees Primary in East Ayrshire.

Who is this for?

​Relevant for all Scottish educators, but of particular relevance to schools involved in the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

  • Use this to inform your own practice or as part of a professional learning session with your colleagues
  • Reflect on your own practice and, in particular, on the improvement questions below
  • Discuss with colleagues and/or take part in a secure discussion on the Scottish Attainment Challenge Community. Please note: If you are not already a member of the community, see How to join the Scottish Attainment Challenge Community.

Explore the exemplar

Can't view this video? You can also view this clip on Glow (log-in required).

What was done?

Shortlees Primary leadership team set up four working parties to explore Literacy, Numeracy, Health and Wellbeing and Assessment is for learning

Each working party was encouraged to explore how educators, learners and parents can be encouraged to, not only take part in, but lead aspects of learning in the school community. A variety of options were explored. One of the most effective was when learners brought their parents into school to show them how they were learning.


This is interesting because many other schools taking part in the Scottish Attainment Challenge will be looking for support in leadership of learning which can work in their own setting.

What was the impact?

  • Staff in Shortlees are more confident in their use of HGIOS4? to develop and deliver on the school improvement plan
  • Learners are developing leadership skills as they lead on a number of parental involvement activities including SurveyMonkey training, manning stalls at parents’ evenings and “stay and play” sessions for parents
  • Learners are the champions for the Dyslexia Friendly Schools programme in Shortlees and lead the active spelling workshops for parents as well as provide peer support for learning
  • Learners explored and used Improvement Science to develop tests of change in the aspects of learning for sustainability.

Improvement questions

You can share your thoughts on these improvement questions in our online community featured on this page.

The questions can also be used in personal study or to stimulate discussion with colleagues at a professional learning session.

Q1. To what extent does our school community have ownership of our vision, aims and values?

Q2. How well are learners involved in planning and identifying opportunities for personalisation and choice?

Q3. How well do we involve all stakeholders (children,staff, parents and carers, families and partners) in self-evaluation and planning for improvement?