This article considers the ways in which distributed forms of leadership can positively influence school development and change. The article focuses on the findings from an initial evaluation and impact assessment of a leadership programme provided by the 'Specialist Schools and Academies Trust' for teachers in their first five years of teaching. This programme is intended to develop leadership potential and to build lateral leadership capacity in schools. The article provides an assessment of the impact of the 'Developing Leaders' programme on school and student development. The evidence suggests that this form of lateral leadership can make a positive difference to school performance and can contribute significantly to building leadership capacity within the system.