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Strategic planning

Embedding ethical leadership in education

Tools and resources to help governing boards and school leaders embed The Framework for Ethical Leadership.


Schools and trusts serve children and young people and help them grow into fulfilled and valued citizens. As role models for the young, how school leaders and governing boards behave is as important as the work they do.

The Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education was published in 2017 to support and guide the profession and governing boards in their decision-making and behaviour. It provides a flexible set of principles and virtues that are designed to become part of crucial conversations and engrained within school leadership roles.

To gain an understanding of the practical application and impact of the framework, NGA set up the pathfinder project. The aims of pathfinders were to answer two fundamental questions:

  • How well do we fulfil our roles as trusted educators?
  • What kind of role models are we to the children in our care?

This page explores the work of pathfinders and collates tools and resources to help governing boards embed The Framework for Ethical Leadership.


How ethical leadership works

NGA's Nina Sharma talked to Carolyn Roberts, former chair of the Ethical Commission and three pathfinders about how they have used the pathfinder project in their school(s) and the impact the work has had.

Listen to the podcast
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Ethical leadership: a planning tool

Ethical Leadership: a planning tool is an e-learning module that introduces the Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education and provides an audit to evaluate your practice.

You may wish to work through the module as a full governing board or as chair alongside your senior executive leader.

Preview the module
  • “The nation trusts us to form young people into the best that they can be. The public expects us to know what kind of example we should set them, but do we? How do we know what’s right or wrong?”

    Carolyn Roberts

    Ethical Leadership Commission Chair (April 2017)

    Case studies

    Ethical dilemmas

    Our ethical dilemmas case studies help governing boards and leadership teams to think about how they would behave ethically in various scenarios. Alternatively, you may wish to create your own case study or revisit a case that you have previously considered to re-examine it against the framework.

    Download case studies
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    Research report

    Paving the way for ethical leadership

    At the end of the pathfinder project, NGA published a report exploring how the framework has been used in practice by schools and trusts, drawing on insights and case studies from pathfinders.

    The report expands the suite of resources that are available to support school leaders to work with the framework.

    Read the report
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