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Baroness Maddock moved Amendment No. 64:

Page 7, line 30, at end insert--
("( ) Regulations under this section shall provide that the period of training for a professional headship qualification shall be of not less than one year's, and not more than three years', duration.").

The noble Baroness said: We can now talk about Amendment No. 64. It would have been helpful if we could have done so earlier. It adds something to the discussion that we have had, because it proposes that we ensure that we do not have short, perfunctory courses being accredited, or allow trainees to spin out their training indefinitely. For the reasons my noble friend Lord Tope has already given, we have seen people from industry parachuted into all sorts of operations, because people thought that they could run them. I spoke at some length on Second Reading about the importance of good head teachers and the qualities that they need. I still hold to that. We on these Benches, and I believe also Members on the Government Benches, believe that head teachers need a proper, wide-ranging qualification for the job. In order to attain such a qualification, it is necessary to have a training period which is neither short nor allowed to spin over for too long. I beg to move.

10.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: The Government accept much of what the noble Baroness has said. We wish to examine ways of fast tracking for headships potential candidates who have shown the kind of flair referred to in the earlier debate. We have asked the Teacher Training Agency to look at the possibilities. As part of the further development of the NPQH, we wish to ensure that appropriate recognition is given to candidates who can demonstrate that they already meet some of the elements. Perhaps that goes some way in reply to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Pilkington.

The outcome would be that every candidate must have the NPQH badge, whether or not they have been fast tracked. Therefore, most must go through the full course. I am sure that the Committee will agree with the noble Baroness that there is no merit in serving the time for its own sake. We seek to benchmark candidates against rigorous sets of standards and to award the qualification accordingly.

However, more flexibility is needed. The NPQH already includes needs assessment procedures designed to secure that training and development builds on candidates' prior experience and study. In that sense,

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I do not believe that the amendment is necessary. The objectives pointed out by the noble Baroness are those in the operation of the scheme.

Baroness Maddock: I thank the Minister for that reply. He talked about fast tracking and providing the criteria laid down. The fast tracking might be acceptable. However, I hear what the Minister says and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 65 and 66 not moved.]

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 67:

Page 7, line 34, leave out ("unless") and insert ("whether or not").

The noble Lord said: Our view, which I believe is shared by the Government, is that in due course we expect all head teachers to have the appropriate qualification. Amendment No. 67 provides that even head teachers already in post should train and gain the professional head teachers' qualification. It is important that all the head teachers should undergo specific and appropriate professional training. We have talked about the excellent head teachers and I agree with the Minister that there are many who happen not to be headmasters.

However, we know that in some schools there are in post head teachers who are in their early 50s and waiting for retirement in 10 to 15 years' time. Numerous pupils will go through those schools during that time. It is too long to wait for a qualified head teacher to be appointed, so it is proper and appropriate that all head teachers, whether in post or not, should gain the qualification. That is what the amendment seeks to achieve. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: I can think of nothing more insulting to the most professional and best of our head teachers--men or women. There are some outstanding examples of such people. To make it a legal requirement that they should be packed off to do a professional headship course is wholly unacceptable and I should not support any such proposal.

There is now an inspection system which includes a rolling programme of schools being visited and revisited regularly over a number of years. If head teachers are not performing well, that should be picked up in the course of inspection. Governing bodies doing their job should also be vigilant in relation to making sure that head teachers are called to account for the performance of their schools. However, to make it a legal requirement that all head teachers in post should be required to do a course and achieve a qualification is frankly unacceptable.

Baroness Blackstone: On this occasion, I am closer to the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, than I am to the noble Lord, Lord Tope. Clause 12 is intended to ensure that those coming new to headship will be appropriately skilled and knowledgeable to carry out their major responsibilities by requiring that they hold a designated headship qualification, intended to be the NPQH.

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We certainly share the intention behind the amendment that all existing heads in our schools should be expected to have the highest possible skills of school leadership and professional competence and to raise the performance of their schools and pupils to that of the very best. However, I am sure that the Committee will agree that the best way to achieve that is not to expect all our head teachers--all 25,000 of them--to requalify for their jobs. That cannot be a sensible way in which to proceed.

Instead, as the note we placed in the Library makes clear, we have asked the Teacher Training Agency to develop a separate headship training programme based on the same professional standards for headship which underpin the NPQH for introduction from this September. That is the right way of catering for the training needs of existing heads rather than through accepting this amendment. I very much hope that, in the light of my explanation, the noble Lord, Lord Tope, will withdraw the amendment.

Lord Tope: Of course I shall withdraw the amendment. I am still not sure that I agree entirely with the Minister. I do not propose that by the year 2000 or some such similar near date all 25,000 head teachers should have qualified in the way I propose. That would be a practical impossibility even if it were desirable and I accept that it is not desirable over that timescale.

But rather than looking two or three years ahead, I am looking 10, 15 or even 20 years ahead. It is hoped that by that time most head teachers will have qualified in the way proposed in this Bill, but there will be some long in post who will not have qualified in that way. I believe that consideration needs to be given to the way in which to deal with that situation. It is not satisfactory simply to say that because they happened to be appointed--and that is not necessarily the same as being qualified--before the introduction of the requirement, they can carry on for ever in that role. I hope and believe that that is something to which in due course the General Teaching Council will return. Nevertheless, for the time being, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 68 not moved.]

Clause 12 agreed to.

Clause 13 [Requirement to serve induction period]:

Baroness Maddock moved Amendment No. 69:

Page 8, line 15, after ("a") insert ("maintained").

The noble Baroness said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 71. This is a simple amendment which is about ensuring that newly trained teachers will do their induction year in a state school. In recent years we have seen that there are a number of graduates who do a PGCE course at the state's expense who do not have any intention of going anywhere near a state school. We have trained them at the state's expense. I hope that the Minister will look favourably on this amendment.

Amendment No. 71 relates to a provision which we believe should be on the face of the Bill; namely, that the induction period for new teachers should be a

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minimum of one year. On Second Reading the Government indicated that it normally would be for one year. However, unless the Government can give us very compelling reasons why someone should be allowed to complete his or her induction period sooner, I can see no objection to the provision being put on the face of the Bill. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: In my view, this is an unfortunate amendment. Again, returning to the whole idea of building bridges with the independent sector--and I know that the Government genuinely mean to do so--this amendment would not help in that respect. There are people who come out of teacher training college and go into the private sector or teach in non-maintained schools. They later come into the state system, bringing with them that gathered expertise. The idea that all the experience that they have gained counts for nothing in the maintained sector is most unfortunate.

I was quite worried when the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, referred rather disparagingly to the state having spent money on someone who takes a PGCE course and does not actually use it--or, indeed, does not use it at all in terms of going into teaching--and does not necessarily come into state teaching choosing instead, perhaps, to go into the private sector. Higher education has, hitherto, been a case of educating all sorts of people at the state's expense. Those people may gain a qualification and may use it in the private sector. They go into industry, commerce, law firms or, indeed, manufacturing. The idea that because the state has met that cost and those people have not come back to work for a public authority is somehow not quite right is, I believe, unfortunate.

I hope that the amendment will not be accepted. As long as the period of induction takes place within teaching, and as long as the teacher training qualification itself is bona fide and has been gained on a fully accredited course, I do not see that anything can be gained by actually placing such a requirement on someone who has trained and undergone an induction period in the independent sector.

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