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Ahead of the leadership game

It was refreshing to read Geoffrey Samuel's "Parting Shots" (TES, School Management Update, May 10) on the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) since it reflected so clearly my own determination, and that of everyone working on the new qualification, that it should place the emphasis fairly and squarely on the importance of leadership.

I strongly sympathise with Mr Samuel's desire to simplify headship into the ability to lead a school and choose good new staff. But he conveniently dodges the issue of what this ability would look like if turned into a qualification.

Having spoken to thousands of headteachers and teachers, I doubt that Mr Samuel would be able to cut any of the core areas we have identified, which concern the strategic direction and leadership of the school, leadership in respect of learning and teaching, people and relationships, the development and deployment of staff and resources and issues of accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

The timing of Mr Samuel's article was rather unfortunate from his point of view since it was published on the same day that we announced our intention to establish regional providers of training and assessment and that it will be they - not LEAs as he suggests - who help us devise the detailed course to be offered next year. Moreover, the qualification will be based on the draft national standards which have been written and validated by education professionals, headteachers, and others in management from business and industry, and not, as Mr Samuel suggests, by civil servants.

Material about the NPQH has been widely circulated and can be obtained from the TTA. We will be sending it to Mr Samuel.

ANTHEA MILLETT

Chief executive

Teacher Training Agency

Portland House, Stag Place

London SW1

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