Consultation on draft Head Teacher and Training Standards (Scotland) Regulations

Draft regulations specifying the education and training standards needed before appointment to Head Teacher posts.

2. Context

The Scottish Government document "Delivering Excellence and Equity in Scottish Education - A Delivery Plan for Scotland" states that "We will make holding the Standard for 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". Powers were acquired under The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 which make amendments to the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 to allow the Scottish Ministers to make regulations prescribing the standards of education and training needed before a person could be appointed as a Head Teacher of an education authority, grant-aided or independent school. The Scottish Parliament approved the creation of these powers under section 28 of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016. It has been the policy of the Scottish Government since 2005 that employers satisfy themselves that teachers appointed to Head Teacher posts should meet a certain standard of education and training.

This consultation aims to seek the public's views on the draft "The Head Teachers Education and Training Standards (Scotland) Regulations" (see Annex A). The regulations are required to meet the policy aim of improving the quality of candidate applying for Head Teacher posts thereby ensuring schools are led by Head Teachers who are prepared for the role.

The regulations apply to persons seeking appointment as Head Teacher of both education authority managed and grant-aided schools.

However, the regulations also allow education authorities flexibility to deal with any individual local circumstances particularly in relation to temporary appointments.

Introducing these regulations is part of the Scottish Government's strategy to improve school education in Scotland. Leadership is recognised as one of the most important aspects of the success of any school. Leaders at all levels who are empowered, and who empower others to take ownership of their own learning, have a strong track record of ensuring the highest quality of learning and teaching. This in turn helps to ensure that all children achieve the best possible outcomes. Highly effective leadership is key in ensuring the highest possible standards and expectations are shared across schools to achieve excellence and equity for all.

This legislation links to other initiatives the Scottish Government are developing in educational leadership. One of the main organisations we have invested in is the Scottish College for Educational Leadership ( SCEL). Their aim is to ensure every teacher benefits from excellent leadership learning and development so they can make a direct difference to young people and society. They continue to work extensively on the design and delivery of professional learning programmes, events, conferences and awards and have successfully involved the wider educational community in its activities and projects.

An important strand of SCEL's work has been the development on the "Into Headship" programme in collaboration with Scottish Universities. This programme looks explicitly at the preparation for the role of Head Teacher and building real understanding and experience in strategic leadership, leading at a whole school level and all the complexities this entails. This is the only programme currently available that results in the award of the General Teaching Council for Scotland ("the GTCS") Standard for Headship. The Scottish Government fully funds participants through this programme although each local authority has to agree to each individual's involvement. The Scottish Qualification for Headship and the Flexible Routes to Headship were the previously recognised national programmes. However, these programmes are no longer offered. Graduates from these programmes were awarded the Standard for Headship and this award still remains valid.

The Standard for Headship is part of a suite of teaching standards that are developed and awarded by the GTCS. The Standard for Headship supports the self-evaluation and professional learning of those in, or aspiring to, formal leadership roles in schools. All teaching standards are underpinned by the themes of values, sustainability and leadership and are integral to professional relationships and practices. The Standard for Headship is awarded by the GTCS on completion of the "Into Headship" programme, which is delivered by university providers and accredited by both SCEL and the GTCS. This forms part of the full 180 credit masters pathway that is being developed for teacher leadership by SCEL (see Annex C for further details).

It is recognised that there are various issues surrounding recruitment of Head Teachers in Scotland. The Association of Directors of Education ( ADES) and the Scottish Government have undertaken research into this area and produced a report that was published in September 2016 (see Annex C for further details). It concluded that a package of measures was needed to bring improvement, continuity and sustainability of leadership in schools and communities. These measures include career pathways and preparation for headship, support for Head Teachers, terms, conditions and incentives and promoting the role of Head Teachers.

The Scottish Government is currently undertaking a Review of Governance arrangements in Scottish education (link to document in Annex C). One of the aspects the Review considers is more decisions about school life being driven by schools themselves, starting with the presumption that decisions about children's learning and school life should be taken at school level. The Government are committed to extending to schools, the responsibilities that currently sit with education authorities and to allocating more resources directly to Head Teachers to enable them to make decisions, based on local circumstances, to give our children and young people the best chance of success. The Government have undertaken to ensure that all the support necessary is available so that Head Teachers have the skills and confidence to grasp the opportunities change like this can bring.

The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 ("the 2016 Act") amended the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 Act to enable regulations to be made by the Scottish Ministers prescribing the standards of education and training required by persons seeking appointment as Head Teachers to education authority, grant-aided and independent schools. Following representations from the independent schools sector about their particular circumstances, as stated above, we have decided that regulations will not be made by Ministers which apply to Head Teachers of these schools at this juncture.


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