Headteacher Recruitment Working Group: route to headship

This paper supports the Headteacher Recruitment Working Group's 'Report and next steps' publication.

Annex A - Case studies of steps to support progression to formal leadership roles

Coaching offer for all headteachers and depute heads

Angus Council has established a coaching offer for all headteachers and depute heads as part of Professional Review and Development. The aim is to support and encourage individuals both in their current roles, and in their future career planning.

The scheme is voluntary and has proved popular with headteachers and depute heads. Angus Council invested in coaching training for council and education staff, and individuals take part on a voluntary basis. Coaching sessions are arranged by individual partnerships and take place around teaching commitments.

This programme has been in place for a number of years and the organisational development team is currently working with headteachers and other participants to refresh this offering.

Development programme for teachers interested in headship

Glasgow City Council and the University of Glasgow have taken an innovative approach to leadership development, including the secondment of an experienced headteacher as "Head Teacher in Residence", developing and teaching on the Into Headship course. This partnership has also enabled the development of a new leadership programme open to all senior school leaders.

Enhanced Political Awareness for Senior Leaders is a course aimed at developing further leadership capacity and knowledge, exploring areas such as national policy agendas, political awareness and providing opportunities to reflect on these. As a result of participating in this opportunity, a number of participants have moved forward on to the Into Headship programme.

Glasgow City Council have developed this further to offer a suite of programmes for school leaders at all stages of their journey, including "Thinking About Senior Leadership", structured around three broad themes of leading people, leading strategy and pedagogical leadership and "Thinking About Headship", structured around the themes leadership of people, pedagogy and change for improvement.

Acting heads pool

South Lanarkshire uses an Acting Heads pool to fill headteacher vacancies on a temporary basis. This gives aspiring headteachers the opportunity to develop leadership skills and gain experience ahead of or while taking part in Into Headship.

This opportunity is offered annually, through internal communications and information sessions, and then teachers and Depute Head teachers go through an application process to become part of the pool.

The local authority offers a programme of headteacher induction training and this is extended to acting headteachers. Wherever possible, acting heads are linked with a more experienced headteacher as a mentor.

Feedback from participants includes:

"The acting pools programme has helped me to learn more about my leadership style and has supported me with dealing with challenging situations. I am much more confident in the role and I now feel ready for headship." (Acting primary HT)

"The Acting Pool had a huge impact on me: it was a valuable CLPL experience and a turning point in my career. The preparation for interview and the reflection time it needed – that's where it all started. Being an acting HT gave me insight into the role and allowed me to reflect on my readiness for Headship and give me the confidence to go on to my substantive post." (Primary HT)

"As an aspiring head teacher, the Acting HT Pool played a significant role in my preparation for Headship. This valuable CLPL opportunity provided the scope to draw upon the theoretical knowledge from SQH and put it into practice. Through an Acting HT post, I developed a deep understanding of myself as a leader and benefited from increased confidence and resilience. Having recently started a substantive HT post, I feel the experience ensured I was ready and prepared for the challenges ahead."

Introduction to Leadership and Management

Teachers who join this programme in Angus have the opportunity to lead specifically on an aspect of their school improvement plan. This requires working with colleagues at different levels within their school as well as undertaking research and development. This supports leadership skills development and collaborative working.

Tayside Regional Improvement Collaborative

The leadership stream is focussing on 2 aspects of work. One of these is induction for Headteachers. There is a new and improved process for induction which has been developed and is now used uniformly across the Tayside Councils. The other element is a leadership programme which has been developed for middle leaders across Tayside. The work plan has been developed and is currently being rolled out.

Teacher learning communities

Teacher learning communities have been established across Angus. These are teacher-led and focus on high quality professional dialogue. The communities provide teachers at all levels the opportunity to lead on new developments involving colleagues from their own schools and others across Angus, hence building leadership skills and capacity.

SCEL exchange programme

School leaders participating in the SCEL Excellence in Headship programme are given an exciting opportunity to walk in the shoes of a peer from another European country.

SCEL is currently working with the European School Heads Association (ESHA), Association of Heads and Deputes (AHDS) and School Leaders Scotland (SLS) to provide programme participants with job shadowing opportunities in Slovenia, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

Other opportunities include small schools exchange programme between Scotland and Ireland and an opportunity to be part of the Workforce Scotland Leadership Exchange initiative which pairs leaders at middle, senior and executive levels in brief exchanges to learn from each other across sectors.


Email: Shirley Anderson

Back to top