Select Committee on Education and Employment First Special Report

Ninth Report: The Role of Headteachers (HC 725-I)

Ninth Report: The Role of Headteachers (HC 725-I)
Published: 3 November


Government Reply:  Second Special Report, Session 1998-99 (HC 164)
Published: 25 January 1999


Government Response

Further Government Action

1. During our inquiry we have been impressed by the quality and dedication of the headteachers who have contributed to our work. We agree with the Chief Executive of CfBT Education Services who told us that "first class headteachers exist ... the problem is how to ensure that the good practice which already exists becomes, as far as possible, the norm".

The recruitment, retention and reward of excellent headteachers is central to the Government's drive to raise standards in schools. We endorse the Committee's conclusion that successful schools depend on the skills, commitment and dedication of all staff, and in particular, those of the headteacher. We share the Committee's view that many schools are already benefiting from the leadership of high quality, excellent headteachers. We acknowledge the contribution of those heads. Indeed, the impact of a talented and effective head is marked: many of those schools no longer on special measures have benefited from the vision and skills of a new headteacher. But we continue to need to support more heads in developing these skills: OFSTED evidence continues to point to about one in six primary schools and one in ten secondary schools suffering from poor leadership.

The restructuring of headteachers' pay that took effect from 1 September 1999 aimed to attract and reward good headteachers. It brought in a fairer link between job weight and pay, improved arrangements for progression based on performance and recognised heads' role in implementing the changes put forward in the Green Paper Teachers: meeting the challenge of change.

We continue to believe in the crucial importance of the recruitment, retention and reward of high quality school leaders. The establishment of the National College for School Leadership will play a significant part in helping to identify and promulgate good practice in supporting headteachers in particular in their central role. At the first meeting of the College Governing Council on 25 September 2000, the Secretary of State published the College remit letter, which sets out its general aims, key roles and specific tasks. The National College will be launched formally in November 2000.

2. We believe that effective management and efficient administration are essential, but not sufficient, for the success of the school. Raising standards requires educational leadership.

The three national headship programmes focus particularly on developing strong leadership skills in addition to effective management skills. As made clear in the College remit letter published on 25 September 2000, we will expect the National College to further develop opportunities for school leaders to focus on leadership skills—indeed, the principle reason for the establishment of the College is to give greater prominence to the importance of educational leadership.

3. At this stage, it seems to us that the time has come to clarify the respective responsibilities of the governing body on the one hand and the headteacher and senior staff on the other.

 The Green Paper sets out our vision of the role of the headteacher and we note the Committee's recommendations concerning the respective roles and responsibilities of senior managers within schools. We will give them full consideration as work progresses to take forward the Green Paper proposals (recommendations 3-17).

The new regulations under Section 38 of the School Standards and Framework Act will clarify the role of the governing body in setting the strategic direction of the school and the role of the head in developing policy, leading and managing within that overall strategy.

The Education (School Government) (Terms of Reference) (England) Regulations 2000 came into force on 1 September 2000. The associated guidance on the Roles of Governing Bodies and Head Teachers emphasises that governing bodies should be fulfilling a largely strategic role, leaving the internal organisation, management and control of schools to head teachers. The guidance, which is being sent to all heads and governors, also provides a decision planner to help governing bodies delegate more effectively.

4. We also emphasize the importance of ensuring that governing bodies are fully equipped to carry out the task of selecting and appointing the right headteacher for their school and for monitoring his or her progress thereafter. This will require not only that governors have access to appropriate training but that they make use of it. It also may involve the use of external expertise, for instance from consultants, although we note the comment of Mr John Howson that most schools currently cannot afford to use outside consultants.

As above

All governing bodies have access to personnel advice and suggested model procedures from local authorities and can choose whether to purchase specific training from them or independent providers. Funding for governor training (approximately £10 million nationally) is included in the Standards Fund and devolved to school budgets. In addition, an extra £5 million is being made available in 2000-2001 to train school governors in performance management. DfEE has developed a training pack specifically for governors for delivery by approved trainers. DfEE has also appointed accredited external advisers, paid from central funds, to help governing bodies to conduct head teacher appraisals and set appropriate objectives for them. Advisers will also be able to help governing bodies review the performance of head teachers and to agree objectives with them.

5. Schools will continue to face changing expectations, including the need to ensure higher standards of achievement, collect and analyse more data about children's achievement, offer a wider range of services, adapt educational provision to the needs of the local community and provide education in a range of settings. The rapidly-growing use of information and communications technology (ICT) is also creating new challenges for schools. It follows from all this that the future task of the headteacher is perhaps even more challenging than it is at present.

New technology can add dimensions to teaching, learning and, as a management tool, further support the effective running of schools (recommendations 5, 14 and15).

Current headship training—in particular the serving heads' programme—aims to support headteachers in developing an understanding of the potential of ICT in helping them or their staff manage the school, as well as in developing teaching and learning.

The strategic management of ICT in schools plays a key role in the new National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) which commences in Autumn 2000. It introduces elements of on-line learning and opportunities for candidates to engage in 'virtual' debates with leading practitioners. Study modules in the programme also look strategically at the role of ICT in schools.

In addition, the 'Talking Heads' pilot which was launched in Spring 2000 offers new heads the opportunity through electronic conferencing to develop their ICT skills and to discuss issues with other new heads. Talking Heads will extend to form a key part of the virtual arm of the NCSL. The 'virtual college' will also make accessible the best and most up to date international research and dialogue on leadership issues, and will offer a range of on-line seminars, lectures and opportunities for school leaders to debate and exchange practical experiences as well as helping to develop the confidence and competence of heads in making the best use of new technology.

6. There is no single ideal model of school leadership: it will vary according to the needs of a particular school at a given time. Good headteachers clearly share common values and skills and the relative importance of different attributes will vary according to the circumstances of individual schools. The important point is that schools should have the freedom and the capability to choose the right solutions, in terms of people and structures, to allow them to develop all their pupils' potential to the full. This is particularly the case in the light of ongoing changes to the nature of schools which we have outlined above. One of the things that struck us most clearly during the inquiry is the extent of change which has affected schools and which will affect them in the future. It seems to us that one of the key roles of the head is in managing and leading change in the school. It is noticeable that in Zürich, where few schools have headteachers, the education system has been comparatively static for many years, and the introduction of heads is being considers at least partly to cope with the changes currently being contemplated in the Canton.

We share their overarching aim that bureaucratic burdens should be reduced in a variety of ways so that headteachers are free to lead. We agree also that the role of the headteacher continues to change in response to influences such as the development of information and communication technologies and further understanding about the way in which children learn; and that it is for heads to lead their schools through this period of change, creating an environment which encourages the best possible teaching and learning.

The Better Regulation Task Force published a Report: Red Tape Affecting Head Teachers in April 2000. The Government welcomed the report and has accepted most of the recommendations in full. Action to implement the Government response is in train.

Beyond the recommendations of the Task Force, the Government has promised to reduce the number of documents it sends automatically to schools by a third and the number of pages by a half from September 2000.

The Standards Fund is the Government's main channel for targeting funds towards national priorities to be delivered by LEAs and schools. It will be simplified from 2001, with fewer separate, ring-fenced grants, an end to bidding and claiming, less form-filling and streamlined monitoring. This will save time in every school and, crucially, will allow heads far greater discretion to target resources at the areas they view as priority needs.

This year's Comprehensive Spending Review announced that headteachers will receive £540 million in direct grants in 2001-2002 to spend on improving standards in classrooms. Within this, the grant payable to primary schools has been increased significantly. This will mean that the grant for a typical secondary school will be £60,000 and for a typical primary it will be £20,000.

7. Ultimately, the aim of the school is to provide the best possible education for the children, and this is dependent on the quality of the teaching by individual teachers in their classes. The relationship between the teacher and his or her class is paramount. It follows therefore that the overriding aim of the school leader must be to create and maintain a school environment which supports and encourages the best possible teaching and learning.

As above

We continue to agree with the committee's view on the overarching role of the headteacher. The National College will build on the existing headship programmes to provide the professional development opportunities heads need to carry out this role effectively.

8. We support the evidence that all schools need to have an educational leader. A school is more than a collection of classrooms; it is a learning community with its own ethos and values. The headteacher has the vital task of developing and maintaining that ethos and those values by bringing together the efforts of all the staff, children and others involved in the life if the school. To achieve this, the headteacher will need the characteristics, skills and vision which we set out earlier in this report. However, we recognise that, as part of this overall aim, the contemporary headteacher has responsibility for many other tasks. Not all of these tasks need to be carried out by the headteacher, and we believe that other, more effective, means can be found of discharging many of them. Headteachers should be prepared to delegate tasks to other members of staff—both teachers and others—in order to free up time for their key duties. Such delegation will also help develop the skills of other staff, not least for future leadership roles. The nature of what is delegated will vary according to the differing qualities of the headteacher and his or her staff: we do not think it is wise to lay down hard and fast rules.

We continue to believe that every school needs an educational leader in charge of teaching and learning.

We note the Committee's views concerning heads' experience of education and teaching (recommendations 8 and 16).

Our vision for a more permeable profession at the leadership level is made clear in the Green Paper. Some of the proposals for grouping small schools may provide a further route for career development for talented heads. The pay arrangements proposed in the Green Paper should allow the importance of the school leadership role to be reflected and the most successful heads to earn more.

We have created a new leadership group whose members will have substantial strategic responsibilities for school leadership. It will come into being on 1 September 2000 and will include headteachers, deputy heads and a new grade of "assistant head".

9. One of the key issues to emerge from the evidence is the range of administrative tasks with which schools are increasingly faced and for which the headteacher has ultimate responsibility. Evidence has made clear the value of high-quality administrative staff to schools in the efficient discharging of such functions, but we have also noted the cost to schools of employing them. An approach recommended by several witnesses is the sharing of administrative staff between a number of schools, which is particularly appropriate for smaller schools whose budgets might not stretch to the employment of dedicated staff of this kind. Such staff could include, for instance, finance managers, premises officers and ICT staff. In larger schools, such an administrative post might replace the post of a traditional deputy head with a teaching background. We support this kind of approach and recommend that schools carefully examine how entering into such arrangements could work to their benefit. Schools need to have access to sufficient funds to allow staff to carry out such delegated functions, but equally importantly, headteachers also need to be given the flexibility to use the available resources appropriately, including the freedom to pool resources with other schools where necessary.

We also acknowledge that sharing services between schools can help free heads to concentrate on raising standards (recommendations 9, 10 and 13).

We will give full consideration to Committee's recommendations on the role and contribution of other senior staff including senior administrators (recommendations 9 and 17) as we take forward the Green Paper consultation.

£80m is being made available between 1999-2001 under the Administrative Support Fund for Small Schools where administrative tasks are felt most acutely. The grant is targeted at small schools such as primary schools with 200 or fewer pupils, secondary schools with 600 or fewer pupils, and special schools with 75 or fewer pupils on roll. The grants will not only reduce the burden of basic administration placed upon teachers, deputies and heads, but will also enable the professional teaching staff in those schools to spend more of their time on the activities which directly improve pupil attainment, such as lesson planning and preparation, professional development and, in the case of heads and deputies, the task of school leadership. The Administrative Support is to merge with the Small Schools Support Fund from FY2001-02, as the two funds have much in common.

10. We support the principle of schools working together in any of a wide range of groups or clusters. It is obvious that schools can and do benefit from "looking sideways" to each other and sharing expertise and experience. Such relationships may involve teachers and staff in addition to, or other than, the headteacher, but the head's task is to act as a facilitator of effective co-operation.

Our plans to support projects for small schools to work more closely together perhaps in federation under a single head, are outlined in the Green Paper. The proposed Small School Support Fund will help encourage schools to pilot such innovative approaches.

We also acknowledge that sharing services between schools can help free heads to concentrate on raising standards (recommendations 9, 10 and 13).

The Small Schools Support Fund will be available from September 2000 to be used in schools with less than 200 FTE pupils. £20million is available per year through the Standards Fund. The fund may be spent on collaboration between schools within an LEA or in neighbouring LEAs, with other education establishments or with community services. Examples of how schools may collaborate could include: financial support, facilities management, professional development, family friendly services, technical assistance, joint planning and purchasing, curriculum planning and specialist staff exchange.

From September 2000 we are introducing a new requirement to publish statutory proposals in order to close one of the sites of a multi-site school if any of the remaining sites are a mile or more away. We hope this will reassure local communities about the future of sites of schools if small schools are amalgamated into a larger grouping. Our guidance to those deciding statutory proposals under the devolved decision-making process says that there should be a presumption against the closure of rural schools.

The Small Schools Support Fund is to merge with the Administrative Fund from FY2001-02, as the two funds have much in common.

11. Different issues are raised by the model of several schools being merged into a federated school and run by a single headteacher...We do not think that such federation of schools should be carried out simply in an effort to combat problems of recruitment.

As above

As above

12. There are other reasons for federating schools. Federations have been created in order to avoid the closure of small, often rural, primary schools. The NASUWT argued for the federation model on the grounds that it would help keep small rural primary schools open. In very small schools, the role of the head is so different from that of the head in a larger school that it will be a correspondingly smaller loss of leadership to merge the two headship posts. We agree that merging two schools is a better alternative to the closure of small primary schools and the consequent additional travelling by pupils, and also the loss to villages of the school as a centre of the community. The exact structure of such federated schools will vary according to the needs of the local community and the role of the headteacher in providing leadership and support to the federated school will be, perhaps, even more crucial than in a single-site school. While we recognise the importance of maintaining the existence of many such small schools, we are less convinced by the idea of merging very large numbers of schools into a single federated school. We do not believe that such federations would be an appropriate way of merging more than two, or at most three, schools, and we feel it would be best employed in the case of small schools. Where schools are merged following a federation, such federated schools will become single schools, with a single head, budget, governing body and OFSTED inspection. The DfEE should recognise the logistical differences between such split-site schools and single site schools.

As above

As above

13. Schools at their best have always been a key asset to the communities which they serve. We believe that this tradition will continue to develop and that one of the essential roles of the headteacher will be to ensure that schools play their full part in their local communities. Collaboration with local organisations raises many of the same questions as collaboration between schools. In this context, headteachers are working as part of a wider team. For instance, the head does not need to be in sole charge of all the activities that take place in the school outside traditional school hours. Those using school facilities can help contribute towards the costs of keeping schools open as community resources. It would also be possible for the services of an estate manger for a combined school/health centre/nursery to be purchased jointly. Effective collaboration will also mean ensuring that headteachers, or other appropriate school staff, are represented on the boards of partner organisations, and vice versa—for instance, the relevant committee of the governing body could co-opt representatives from the local TEC or Early Excellence Centre. We expect to see the development of such partnerships within the Education Action Zones currently being established.

We also acknowledge that sharing services between schools can help free heads to concentrate on raising standards (recommendations 9, 10 and 13).

We recognise that some schools might want to go further and offer a wider range of facilities on one site, overseen by a single estate manager—the New Deal for Communities and Education Action Zones can contribute to such developments.

Since November 1998, 73 EAZs have been established—25 during the academic year 98/99 and a further 48 during the academic year 99/00. In addition, a further 13 small EAZs were launched in April 2000 as part of the Excellence in Cities programme. About 1 school in 12 is now in an EAZ. EAZs attract additional resources (up to £1m per year for at least 3 years). Of the zones established in 98/99, there are encouraging signs of greater links between schools in terms of sharing good practice, particularly within the primary sector. Many zones employ specialist teaching staff who work across schools and a few are planning to share administrative staff. Zones also fund a wide range of study support and extension activities, many of which take place on school premises out of school hours. The key objective of EAZs is to raise standards and there has not been a great focus as yet on developing a wider range of facilities on school sites, although a small number of zones are developing links with health and social services departments. Many zones fund programmes which encourage greater links between schools and parents, including a number of accredited courses. In terms of partnerships, each EAZ is overseen by an action forum and all zone schools are entitled to a representative. This is in addition to Forum members drawn from the business community or voluntary sector. Some zone schools have asked for a Forum representative to be co-opted onto their governing body. Many forums have established good links with relevant local bodies, although this tends to be via the project director and the zone's staff rather than individual Forum members.

14. Headteachers will have to recognise the impact of ICT in three areas: on pupils' learning in school (the simplest issue: use of computers in the classroom); on the nature of learning itself; and on the relation between the school and the wider community. In an era where vastly more information is available to more people, via the Internet and CD-ROM, than ever before, the school is going to be placed in an ever more competitive knowledge market. The headteacher will therefore have to ensure that parents and pupils recognise the particular benefits of the school itself, over and above its role as a repository of information.

New technology can add dimensions to teaching, learning and, as a management tool, further support the effective running of schools (recommendations 5, 14 and15).

Current headship training—in particular the serving heads' programme—aims to support headteachers in developing an understanding of the potential of ICT in helping them or their staff manage the school, as well as in developing teaching and learning.

All teachers in the maintained sector are now benefiting from the National Lottery funded teacher training programme. Under this programme, which is being implemented by the New Opportunities Fund, serving teachers are being provided with the opportunity to receive training in the use of ICT based on the results of a training needs identification exercise. Funding of this programme will continue until 2002.

In 1999-2000 £3 million was made available to provide some 1000 new headteachers with a multimedia portable computer, software, printer, and Internet connection. Participating heads are contributing to the development of the on-line virtual college of school leadership.

In 1999-2000 a further £3 million was made available to provide heads of small primary and special schools with a multimedia portable computer, software, printer, and Internet connection.

Headteachers are amongst the groups of teachers being considered in the Government's continuing intention to improve access to computers.

See also recommendation 5.

15. We have argued that schools cannot stand in isolation from the communities they serve and must be more responsive to the needs of their locality. Similarly, headteachers cannot ignore the wider changes in society exemplified by changing work patterns, child rearing practices and the fact that female performance now outstrips male in most aspects of education. Such factors may well determine new patterns of class organisation and whole school organisation, which will in turn be supported through the capacity of ICT to provide not just individualised programmes but alternative ways of working. Equally, the greater understanding of how people learn, and the evidence that supports the concept of multifaceted intelligence, will demand curricula and organisations which will better allow for variation in performance between different disciplines and in progression rates independent of age.

New technology can add dimensions to teaching, learning and, as a management tool, further support the effective running of schools (recommendations 5, 14 and 15).

Current headship training—in particular the serving heads' programme—aims to support headteachers in developing an understanding of the potential of ICT in helping them or their staff manage the school, as well as in developing teaching and learning.

See recommendations 5 and 14. As made clear in the College remit letter published on 25 September 2000, we expect the College to have a role in establishing a range of development opportunities for school leaders capable of responding to the differing challenges of leadership in different contexts and the evolving role of schools in the community. The opportunity offered by the virtual arm of the College for heads to network nationally with other heads will be an important development.

16. Given the weight of evidence that headteachers need to be educational leaders for their schools, we think it essential for those being appointed as heads to have experience of education and of teaching. In the great majority of cases, this is likely to mean that heads will continue to be appointed from those with a background in classroom teaching, although there will of course always be exceptions to this rule. We agree with those witnesses who argued that there were other ways in which the necessary experience of teaching can be obtained. There are also many teachers who have left the profession but who have subsequently gained valuable leadership and management skills in other fields. We believe that some of these individuals will have the right balance of skills and experience to lead a school and could in the right circumstances make a significant contribution to education. We therefore recommend that the Government and the TTA develop a route into headship for such individuals. We will also be interested to see if any of the Education Action Zones develop such alternative routes into school leadership.

We note the Committee's views concerning heads' experience of education and teaching (recommendations 8 and 16).Our vision for a more permeable profession at the leadership level is made clear in the Green Paper. Some of the proposals for grouping small schools may provide a further route for career development for talented heads. The pay arrangements proposed in the Green Paper should allow the importance of the school leadership role to be reflected and the most successful heads to earn more.

Applicants not based in schools are eligible to apply for the new NPQH which prepares aspiring headteachers for their future role. The new model is more streamlined and accessible, making it easier for candidates to balance their study with their existing work commitments. The programme is practical and professional with an increased emphasis on school based assessment. Candidates not based in schools will be encouraged to forge close links with a school in order to undertake the school based elements of the programme and to update and develop their skills in the current education context.

17. There are other roles for those from non-educational fields to play in the senior staff of schools. We have noted above the need for high quality administrative staff to work in schools, or across a group of schools. Such posts, if it were possible to make them reasonably financially attractive, would provide a route into the education service for those in other walks of life with appropriate skills and a desire to work in schools.

We will give full consideration to Committee's recommendations on the role and contribution of other senior staff including senior administrators (recommendations 9 and 17) as we take forward the Green Paper consultation.

See recommendation 9

18. We welcome the introduction of the NPQH and the Government's commitment to provide increased funding for the qualification . This is an important development which could have a major impact on the quality of headteachers in the future. A high quality scheme of this sort will also play a key role in school improvement, as both candidates and successfully qualified staff will be able to bring a wider range of knowledge and expertise to their school. However, we were impressed by the evidence that the NPQH might be too rigid to be appropriate for the various different kinds of headship and we agree with those witnesses who argued that the NPQH should better reflect the difference between leading nursery, primary, secondary and special schools. Both the qualification and the way it is delivered must reflect these varying needs, while recognising the core tasks common to all heads. Furthermore, headship is constantly changing as it meets new challenges, and the NPQH should reflect this—it must be able to develop and be updated regularly to take account of the changing nature of the head's role, and of schools themselves. For this reason, it is important to ensure highest quality of trainers—perhaps involving a wider range of organisations than at present. We therefore welcome the Government's commitment to take account of the evaluation of the initial stages of the NPQH and to revise the qualification accordingly.

We note the Committee's recommendations on the future development of the headship programmes (recommendations 18-27) including the proposal that a Headship Career Entry Profile might be developed (recommendation 22).

We note in particular the Committee's views on the future progress with the national professional qualification. NPQH is still new and we welcome the Committee's view on taking forward the outcomes of the recent evaluation (recommendation 18) to ensure the flexibility and accessibility of the qualification to all teachers. We will continue to work with the TTA to ensure the Committee's views are taken into account as their action plan for the further improvement of the qualification is implemented.

Following the quinnquennial review of the TTA in 1999, responsibility for the NPQH transferred to the DfEE in order to ensure closer links with the development of the National College for School Leadership. During the summer of 1999 a wideranging consultation exercise with the profession was undertaken, the outcomes of which led to the new NPQH programme which will be launched in Autumn 2000. The new NPQH builds on the strengths of the existing qualification but introduces a number of new features including a shorter one year programme, an Access Stage to prepare candidates for the main part of the course, on line learning opportunities, and a residential course at the National College for School Leadership. The new programme also features training during the Development Stage which is differentiated to suit the context of primary, secondary and special schools and introduces more school based elements tailored to the context of individual candidates' schools. Candidates consolidate their learning during the 2 day residential hosted by the National College for School Leadership which is cross phase in order to focus on the generic, strategic aspects of leading a school.

DfEE conducted an open competitive tender exercise during Spring 2000 to recruit providers of the new NPQH and appointed ten high quality NPQH Centres who will deliver all aspects of training and assessment of the new qualification across England. Given the role of ICT in the new model, we will be readily able to update candidates and tutors on the latest educational developments and amend the programme accordingly.

The first application round for the new model NPQH opened on 20 September 2000. Response was overwhelming, with more than 3,000 applicants, which was the best ever recruitment round.

Responsibility for administering the NPQH together with the other headship programmes: HEADLAMP and LPSH, will transfer in due course to the National College for School Leadership which will provide a national and international focus for relevant and up to date school leadership training, development and research for school leaders at every stage of their careers.

19. In an earlier section of our report, we commented on the need to attract former teachers, with leadership experience in other fields, back into headship. We therefore recommend that the TTA explore ways of enabling those who are not currently working in schools to undertake the NPQH.

We agree that experienced heads might be encouraged to take on new challenges, including developing their skills elsewhere in education. We note the Committee's proposals that the NPQH might be a vehicle also for those outside school to enter headship.

See recommendation 16

20. We were presented with strong views that the Government's intention to make the NPQH mandatory for new appointment to headship by 2002 was premature, although witnesses agreed that, in the long term, a mandatory qualification was desirable. We agree that the NPQH, adapted along the lines we have suggested, should eventually become mandatory, but we recommend that the Government reconsider its commitment to making the NPQH mandatory by 2002 and give serious consideration to the likely impact on the recruitment of headteachers. In the light of difficulty in attracting candidates to the NPQH, we are concerned that there is a danger of exacerbating recruitment difficulties, particularly in primary schools.

We note the Committee's comments on the timing of the introduction of the mandatory requirement for new heads to hold the national professional qualification (recommendation 20). Within the context of continued monitoring and improvement of the qualification, we remain committed to introducing the mandatory requirement within the lifetime of this Parliament. We are also clear, however, that we will bring the requirement into force when we are satisfied that the qualification is fit for purpose and that there is an adequate pool of candidates.

The Government remains committed to making the NPQH mandatory in due course for all those seeking their first headship post. Clearly the establishment of the National College for School Leadership and the introduction of the new NPQH programme are significant factors which will need to be taken into account when considering the timing of the introduction of the mandatory requirement. We also continue to monitor candidate recruitment, graduation rates and headteacher vacancies across England.

21. We recommend that consideration be given to approving a range of qualifications which would be equivalent in status to the NPQH. These could include MBAs with a focus on educational leadership and similar qualifications. This would act in much the same way as the accelerated NPQH route. Accrediting candidates who had already obtained sufficient qualifications and experience would enable them to 'fast track' to headship without following all of the NPQH programme. The 'accelerated' NPQH could form a model for this kind of alternative route to NPQH status.


The new NPQH allows those who are already close to headship to progress quickly through the qualification so that they may achieve the NPQH in as little as 3 months. Prior learning achievements, such as MBAs, together with prior experience, are taken into account in decision making on eligibility and appropriate routes through the qualification to suit candidates who are deemed eligible. The NPQH will be a central element in the training programmes to be offered by the National College and we believe the new programme will lead the way in offering a practical, streamlined and accessible qualification for headship.

22. Although the NPQH could act as a guarantee to governing bodies that candidates they appoint to headship have reached certain levels of competence in school leadership, we feel that more is required to ensure headteachers are well qualified and can meet the high and changing demands placed upon them. We have already noted that the TTA and its partners are continuing work designed to streamline the NPQH and to ensure it more effectively meets the needs of all candidates. We believe this work can and should go further. For instance, there should be a greater focus on the training of deputy headteachers and others in equivalent senior management posts. Such an approach might alleviate current concerns over the lack of training for deputy headteachers. This information could be fed into the NPQH programme and also form part of a Headship Career Entry Profile, analogous to the Career Entry Profiles which have been developed by the TTA for new entrants to the teaching profession.

We note the Committee's recommendations on the future development of the headship programmes (recommendations 18-27) including the proposal that a Headship Career Entry Profile might be developed (recommendation 22).

We will give the Committee's views the fullest consideration as we take work forward. In particular, we look to the ongoing debate as part of the Green Paper consultation to reflect on how best to build coherence across the programmes, including at the transition to headship, ensuring that training needs can be appropriately identified as a basis for further development through induction.

Applicants for the new NPQH are required to demonstrate that they have reached a certain level of competence in school leadership so that they are ready to fully benefit from the programme. The new NPQH has an Access Stage to enable candidates to further strengthen their knowledge and confidence in the key areas of headship before they embark on the main part of the course. The National College will establish a range of development opportunities to support school leaders at different stages of their careers.

23. We welcome the review of HEADLAMP currently being undertaken by the TTA. At present, HEADLAMP does not form a coherent part of the career training for headteachers and aspirant headteachers which the TTA provides. Currently, to have completed HEADLAMP training means very little beyond personal development. It is no longer enough for serving heads to have only ad hoc, mostly unrecognised, training courses. HEADLAMP should be better integrated into the overall professional development for aspiring and serving heads, forming part of the "school leadership journey" from senior manager to deputy headteacher and finally headteacher. There are 3 key signposts which could be matched to a revised qualification structure:

Stage 1: NPQH—Training to take up the role of headteacher. This will lead to the award of a 'Part 1 NPQH' and a career profile detailing current training needs, based on reviews with an appraised mentor of the outcomes of the NPQH training.

Stage 2: NPQH—The practice of headship (a Part 2 'NPQH' to replace HEADLAMP). When the holder of the NPQH becomes a head and is eligible for 'Part 2 NPQH', he/she will have access to a 'Gateway' stage-another review where the head can discuss how his or her training needs have developed since the Part 1 NPQH and agree on how the funding for training can best be spent to match specific needs. Completion of this agreed programme of training will lead to the award of 'full' NPQH.

Stage 3: Training for experienced heads (Leadership Programme)


We share the vision of revised, coherent headship programmes forming an integrated professional development route. Recently revised HEADLAMP guidance and directory are a step towards this. The National College will further develop mentoring and needs assessment—current HEADLAMP strengths—especially in the context of their interface with other headship development, while retaining the flexibility of the programme. The College will also consider how the its wider programme will complement existing headship programmes.

24. As we have emphasized above, all training will need to be dynamic in the flexible, changing world in which we live. The replacement for HEADLAMP (the "NPQH Part 2 ") would draw on new headteachers' Career Entry Profile to ensure that their specific needs were met. Mentoring, for instance by other headteachers, and appraisal would be key elements of the training process. The school context would form the backdrop, with governors and LEA officers having an important role to play. This would relate well to the Government's declared priorities, as articulated in the work on Education Development Plans, in which leadership and management of schools is prominent.


See above

25. There is an opportunity here to raise the professional status of senior leaders in our schools with national acknowledgement at key stages in their career. This could well be a strategy for helping to raise the status of the profession and therefore encourage recruitment to, and retention in, senior positions.


See recommendations 1 and 8

26. It is too early to say what the precise impact of the new College will be. However, we welcome any proposal that will enhance the prestige of school leadership and bring greater cohesion to the training and development of heads and prospective heads. In order to do so, the College will have to build on existing best practice, rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. We look forward to seeing more information about how the college is intended to work in the prospectus when it is published next year, but in the meantime we also hope that the Government will be able to give more details about the College in the Green Paper on the teaching profession, due to be published before Christmas.


The Teachers Green Paper included early thoughts on the setting up of the National College for School Leadership. The College Prospectus, which set out the government's vision for the college in more detail, was launched on 2 June 1999. The broad vision for the college is that it will lead the debate on school leadership and provide a national and international focus for leadership development, training and networking, combining the best in leadership skills development from the public and private sectors. The first College Director, Heather Du Quesnay, took up post in September, and along with her leadership team will take forward the development of the vision for the College.

27. There is no single answer to the question of where heads can best find the support they need...We do not intend to recommend to headteachers which are the most appropriate methods for them to adopt: we agree with Mr Dick Atkinson that the best headteacher will always look in a pragmatic way for where the best is on offer for their children. What is important is that headteachers are fully aware of what kinds of support are available to them both locally and nationally and have the skill and flexibility to use them as effectively as possible. We welcome the diverse and expanding range of services now available to schools from the public, private and voluntary sectors, which has provided a flexible response to the needs of individual headteachers as well as a creative spur to LEAs' own support systems.


Over time, the college will be able to offer heads high quality development opportunities, extending and developing the range of what is already available. Individual heads will then be able to select those opportunities which best meet their needs at different stages of their careers.

28. We believe that schools and LEAs should consider carefully the relative cost-effectiveness of allowing heads (and other senior staff) time out of school for such activities, as compared to staff having to "bolt on" training courses to their normal working day. This would not necessarily imply that heads should be away from school for long stretches at a time; a term could well be sufficient. Secondments in business could be built flexibly round visits of one or two days each month, with longer blocks of time during school holidays. We recommend that the Government, in drawing up its forthcoming Green Paper on the teaching profession, consider the feasibility of giving headteachers and senior staff entitlement to protected training and development time.

We note the Committee's comments on the cost-effectiveness of headship training and the feasibility of establishing an entitlement to training time for heads and senior staff (recommendation 28). The Green Paper identifies the centrality and importance of professional development. We are making a substantial investment in teachers' professional development through the Standards Fund and the New Opportunities Fund. Teachers—at all levels—should see it as part of their professional responsibilities to keep their skills up to date. Many already invest their own time in their professional development and we expect all to take a greater responsibility for doing so.

The College will include in its portfolio opportunities for higher academic qualifications, scholarships, sabbaticals and placements and exchanges within the public and private sector, including possible short-term attachments to the college itself.

29. The LEA can play a useful role in supporting headteachers. LEAs are no longer seen as sole providers, or even as principal providers, of support and advice to headteachers and schools. We agree with Professor Tim Brighouse that LEAs should secure rather than provide such services. He told us that his job, as Chief Education Officer, was to ensure that he knew what support was available from all possible sources and to ensure that heads knew as well. This is not the same as the LEA making the provision itself. The LEA is well placed to understand what stage different headteachers have reached in their leadership career and enable them to find the appropriate support to take them on to next phase of headship or to accept the next challenge. Establishing what is available and ensuring that heads knew about it is becoming progressively easier with the development of ICT.

We note the recommendations concerning the roles of Local Education Authorities in securing, rather than providing, training (recommendation 29).

See recommendation 32

30. The evidence we have received shows that the current appraisal system for headteachers is not working effectively. For this reason we welcome the fact that headteacher appraisal is currently being reviewed by Government.

Rewarding heads well for good performance is central to the development of a school culture which encourages and rewards excellence. We note the Committee's recommendations concerning the arrangements for the appraisal of headteachers (recommendations 30-35). Our proposals in the Green Paper set out our plans for taking forward teachers' appraisal.

A new performance management system for teachers and headteachers came into effect on September 1st 2000. The system sets a framework for governing bodies to agree and review performance objectives with the head within the context of the schools' development plan and the heads own professional development needs. Schools' governing bodies are responsible for the performance management of the headteacher. In this they receive the support of a trained and accredited External Advisor. Heads' performance objectives must include those relating to school leadership and management as well as pupil progress.

31. We believe that headteacher appraisal should take account of heads' performance against the National Standards for Headteachers, the aims of the School Development Plan and performance data about the school in its widest sense.

As above

As above

32. The appraisers should be appointed by the LEA and the governing body. As we have already noted above, the LEA can play a significant role in helping heads find the support they need. The LEA's role in meeting the aims of its Educational Development Plan will also be relevant, especially if appraisal is linked to the achievement of School Development Plans. The governing body's role is important: in the best cases, they work closely with the head and represent the interests of parents, staff and the local community. They will also have been involved in the headteacher's appointment, and we believe there should be a link between initial appointment and on-going appraisal. We do not believe that the governors themselves need necessarily carry out the appraisal, although individual governors may be well-suited, through their professional background, for doing so. It is the governing body's task to ensure that the aims of the appraisal are satisfied, and they can do this by playing a full part in the selection of appraisers and in working with the head to ensure that outcomes of the appraisal are followed up effectively.

As above

New appraisal regulations came into force on 1st September 2000 to support the new Performance Management system for teachers and heads. These regulations gave schools' governing bodies responsibility for appointing 2-3 governors to review the headteachers' performance with the help of an external accredited advisor. The new performance management system also provides for LEA input to the process.

33. LEAs and governing bodies should be encouraged to draw on a wide range of expertise in choosing the best source of appraisal for headteachers.

As above

As above

34. The appraisal process must be linked with a coherent structure of training and development, not least because effective appraisal will help identify headteachers' training needs...We believe that the appraisal process could provide an opportunity for the appraisers to consider whether heads who have been in post for a considerable period might be advised to move on.

As above

See recommendation 30

35. The Schools Minister has argued that appraisal targets should take account of the performance criteria agreed between the head and the school governors for salary purposes. We believe it would be better that governing bodies, in agreeing targets for the performance-related element of the head's salary, should take account of the outcomes of the headteacher's appraisal process.

As above

A new leadership pay range was introduced 1 September 2000. Governing bodies must take into account heads' performance review outcomes before awarding additional pay points.

36. We have noted the important role governors can play in the follow-up of appraisal outcomes. A role could also be played in such follow-up by more systematic mentoring for headteachers. Like appraisers, such mentors could be other headteachers, LEA staff or people from the private and voluntary sectors. It could be possible for the LEA to organise such a scheme, for instance by compiling a list of possible mentors, or this could be done by the TTA, or the TTA's regional training and assessment centres, or by the new National College for School Leadership— which would be able to take a national view and could put heads in touch with mentors who were outside the head's local area (which might be useful for all sorts of different reasons).

We note the proposals for a more systematic arrangement for mentoring heads (recommendation 36). We will take the Committee's views into account as we continue to develop our proposals for appraisal, training and for the national college for school leadership.

See recommendation 38

37. Our first conclusion is that not enough is known about the recruitment situation and no-one has a clear responsibility for monitoring headteacher recruitment. More must be done to establish the facts about headteacher recruitment and retention, the level of headteacher vacancies and the likely demand for headteachers in the future.

We are working also with TTA and OFSTED to monitor the take-up and impact of the NPQH and headship programmes. As plans progress, we will also continue to consider how best to reflect the Committee's views on the monitoring of recruitment to headship (recommendation 37).

We continue to work with LEAs and others to establish better information about the level of headteacher vacancies. We will look to the College to continue and build on this work to monitor recruitment to headship and to encourage more teachers and potential teachers to aspire and aim for headship.

38. More must be done to make the profession attractive and respected. We have made a number of recommendations in the course of this report which we believe would improve the quality of headteachers' working lives, including: a more coherent and higher quality system of training and development for prospective and serving heads, access to better support systems, an entitlement to training and development time and more systematic mentoring. Such improvements would help reduce the current difficulties of recruitment into headship.

See previous responses. The establishment of the college sends a clear signal to the profession that school leaders are crucial to the success of schools, that they are valued highly and are entitled to high quality continuing professional development.

39. We have noted the proposals made by KPMG to the STRB for revising the pay structure in a way that maintains the link between the headteacher's salary and the size of the school, while better reflecting the additional responsibilities given to primary schools in recent years. Their proposals would narrow the overall gap that currently exists between headteacher's salaries in primary and secondary schools. We agree with these proposals, which we believe will ensure that the complexity of the primary headteacher's role, which was emphasized to us in evidence, will be better recognised in the salary structure.

We note the Committee's support for the KPMG/STRB proposals on primary heads' pay (recommendation 39). The STRB's next report, due to be published in February 1999, will contain recommendations for 1999-2000. The Government's evidence to the STRB urged it to press on with recommendations for change to the pay structure for headteachers in 1999-2000.

See also recommendation 1. The new pupil weighting system upon which headteachers' pay is now based increased the weighting given to primary schools compared to secondary schools. It therefore narrowed the overall gap between the two sectors which existed under the previous arrangements.

40. We support the principle that headteachers' salaries could include a performance-related element, but if it is to work for the benefit of the school, as well as the headteacher, we believe that the targets agreed for such performance-related elements of salary should be linked with the headteacher's formal appraisal process. It will also be important for the criteria used in the appraisal process, as well as those used in the awarding of discretionary salary increases, to be very carefully thought out. Governing bodies, LEAs and headteachers must all ensure that no 'perverse incentives' are created which might tempt heads to focus on achieving objectives which are not related to improving learning and teaching in the school.

We see the responsibility resting with the governing body to ensure that the head's performance is properly appraised each year and to take account of the outcome in its review of the head's pay (recommendation 40).

We consider the governing body should make use of suitably trained external advisors in assessing performance and in setting the head's annual targets. Those targets should include indicators of the school's success as well as ongoing development needs.We endorse the principle that pay arrangements for heads should reflect the importance of their leadership role and enable successful heads to earn more. That is why we propose that in many cases a fixed-term contract of, say, five years linked to the achievement of agreed targets would be a good option (recommendation 41) and that experienced, successful heads might be able to earn up to £70,000 when taking on challenges at the highest level, including perhaps turning round schools on special measures or with serious weaknesses (recommendations 40 and 41). The Committee will note also our plans to introduce a fast-track scheme to identify early those teachers with exceptional potential who can progress quickly through the profession (recommendation 42).

See recommendations 30 & 35

41. We believe that some schools might find it useful to have the power to appoint headteachers on fixed-term or more flexible contracts. It is unlikely that these would be used in more than a small minority of headship posts. They might be particularly useful in encouraging 'troubleshooting' heads to work in schools in difficult circumstances (for instance, those which have been placed on special measures). It is reasonable to expect that such contracts would involve paying heads an enhanced salary, partly because they may face exceptional challenges and partly because in the nature of the contract they will have lower security of employment than others in permanent posts. In these circumstances, in order to attract the best candidate possible, the school may need financial help from its LEA, and we therefore recommend that LEAs have the necessary budget flexibility to do so. Such contracts could include an agreement to meet targets related to school improvement, agreed between the head and the school as part of the appointment process. Although we have referred to fixed-term contracts, such contracts could be very flexible. For instance, a head could be appointed on a three year contract with an option to renew at any stage, depending on the circumstances. We look to the Government to examine these issues in the Green Paper on the future of the teaching profession later this year.

We endorse the principle that pay arrangements for heads should reflect the importance of their leadership role and enable successful heads to earn more. That is why we propose that in many cases a fixed-term contract of, say, five years linked to the achievement of agreed targets would be a good option (recommendation 41) and that experienced, successful heads might be able to earn up to £70,000 when taking on challenges at the highest level, including perhaps turning round schools on special measures or with serious weaknesses (recommendations 40 and 41). The Committee will note also our plans to introduce a fast-track scheme to identify early those teachers with exceptional potential who can progress quickly through the profession (recommendation 42).

The Government has nothing to add to its earlier response.

42. Most heads are promoted from deputy headship positions. It is therefore clear that these will have to be encouraged to apply for headships and be properly prepared for it. However, there are other senior staff who will also be ready to consider headship posts. This will mean developing mechanisms to identify and "fast track" those who show the potential to become head teachers sooner rather than later. Our recommendations on developing the TTA's training programme for heads and aspirant heads are relevant to this issue.

 The Committee will note also our plans to introduce a fast-track scheme to identify early those teachers with exceptional potential who can progress quickly through the profession (recommendation 42).

See recommendation 22. The College will also look to develop ways to support swift progression to headship for talented teachers.

43. If the terms and conditions of the headteacher's job are improved in some of the ways we have suggested in the course of our report, not only would more serving teachers be encouraged to apply for headship, others outside the classroom might be as well. It may be that the new National College for School Leadership will have a role to play in providing appropriate training for those from outside the teaching profession.

We will continue to give careful consideration to the Committee's views on the national college for school leadership (recommendations 43-45) as we take work forward. The Committee will note the proposals in the Green Paper for the college to combine the best of leadership training; have close links with business schools; and have the highest quality ICT facilities and a strong 'virtual' presence on the National Grid for Learning. We also suggest that the college might consider awarding Associate, Fellowship or — extraordinarily — Companion status (recommendation 45). The Government plans to publish a prospectus early in the New Year.

See recommendation 26

44. Our inquiry started from a desire to examine the role of headteachers, but it is obvious from our report that, in looking at the work of heads, we were led to consider a much wider range of issues relating to schools: their role in the community, the role of school governors, the nature of schools in the future and so on. The fact that this was the case is an indication of how wide-ranging and complex the role of headteachers is in today's education system. But if headteachers are to fulfil the tasks which are assigned to them, now and in the future, the Government must take responsibility for ensuring that enough heads are recruited and that they are given the tools with which to do their job. This must be a matter for Ministers, not just the TTA.

As above

See previous responses. We agree with the committee that the role of the headteacher is a complex and demanding one. The Government is committed to providing, through the National College, talented school leaders with the training, development and support they need to fulfil this role and to continuing to raise the status of headship as a profession. It will continue to monitor recruitment and retention of headteachers to ensure a sufficient supply of well-qualified headteachers.

45. We believe that the Government should give consideration to establishing a national professional body for headteachers. It could have similar functions in respect of headteachers as the GTC will have for teachers. The NPQH could provide an appropriate qualification for membership of the professional body, with training opportunities such as the Serving Heads programme providing the basis for professional development and continued membership of the professional body. Deputy heads and headteachers who have NPQH status would be eligible for membership, while also being eligible for membership of the GTC. The Government has recently announced the creation of a National College for School Leadership. The National College for School Leadership could become, in the long term, the professional body for school leaders.

As above

No further action. See 'Government response' to recommendation 43.

Additional Note from the Government:

We are committed to supporting excellent leadership in schools—we can succeed in our drive to raise standards only with the contribution of skilled and talented headteachers. We continue to work with our key partners further to ensure that we have in place appropriate and high quality training and that we can adequately encourage and reward effective school leadership. We are also consulting on the proposals in the Green Paper. We look to the debate between now and March to consider the issues raised.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 27 February 2001