Strengthening school leadership

Views sought on mandatory Standard of Headship.

Mandatory qualifications for head teachers have moved a step closer after Deputy First Minister John Swinney published draft regulations requiring new head teachers to hold a Standard of Headship award before being appointed.

The move is part of the Scottish Government’s strategy to improve school education in Scotland, by ensuring head teachers have the leadership skills they need.

Under the regulations, the detail of which will now be consulted upon, holding the Standard of Headship awarded by the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) will be mandatory for all new head teachers in local authority and grant aided schools by August 2019.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Effective leadership is one of the most important aspects of the success of any school. Highly skilled, empowered leaders will help ensure the highest quality of learning and teaching, which makes a direct difference to young people and society.

“Strengthening professional leadership was a key recommendation of the OECD’s independent review of Scottish education and the changes we are proposing in this consultation will do just that.

“Making the Standard of Headship mandatory will ensure head teachers of the future have the leadership skills and support they need to grasp the opportunities of increased devolution in education system currently being discussed as part of our governance review.

“At the same time, our proposed changes will give education authorities flexibility to deal with an individual local circumstances, particularly in relation to temporary appointments. I urge everyone with an interest in this matter to have their say before the consultation closes on 20 March 2017.”


The consultation on Draft Head Teacher and Training Standards (Scotland) Regulations opens runs from Monday 12 December 2016 until Monday 20 March 2017 and can be accessed here:

The Scottish Government’s ‘Delivering Excellence and Equity in Scottish Education – a Delivery Plan for Scotland’ states: “We will make holding the Standard of Headship mandatory for all new Head Teachers by August 2019 and will consult by the end of 2016 on the legislation that will achieve this”.

The Standard of Headship is part of a suite of teaching standards that are developed and awarded by the GTCS. It is awarded by successfully completing the Into Headship development programme managed by the Scottish College for Educational Leadership and delivered by Scottish Universities.

The draft regulations are not retrospective and will not therefore affect currently employed head teachers.

The Scottish Government is currently undertaking a Review of Governance arrangements in Scottish education:



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