Anyone can be a leader

A SPECIALIST college for aspiring school leaders may be on the cards in Scotland - open to all teachers not just those at the top of the management tree.

Confirmation that the Scottish Executive is actively considering the controversial idea came from Fergus Millan, the senior official charged with overseeing the implementation of the post-McCrone teachers'


A National College for School Leadership opens south of the border next Monday and a team from Scotland has been to its Nottingham base on a fact-finding visit.

In an interview with The TES Scotland, Mr Millan said: "Maybe it is an idea whose time has come."

He suggested, however, that the focus in Nottingham on headteachers and senior managers may not be appropriate for a country the size of Scotland. A similar college here could cater for all teachers from probationers to senior management as part of a broad approach to continuing professional development and to avoid any "elitist" tag.

His view was supported by Judith McClure, head of the private St George's School in Edinburgh and chair of the special CPD group on leadership and management which visited the English college. Leadership should be seen as part of professional development, Dr McClure said, and a leadership college should be dedicated to the professional development of teachers as a whole.

Mr Millan went so far as to suggest that in the context of new community schools and the social inclusion agenda the college might be opened up to other professionals such as social workers.

Dr McClure's group has drawn up a paper outlining the advantages and disadvantages of a Scottish leadership college, which will be presented to the ministerial group on professional development chaired by Nicol Stephen, Deputy Education Minister.

"The excellence of a college would be that it would give coherence, bring together the providers, stimulate practical and useful research and make that research accessible," Dr McClure said.

She acknowledged, however, that it would have to work closely with the General Teaching Council for Scotland and local authorities.

A warning came, however, from Danny Murphy at Moray House Institute, which runs the Scottish Qualification for Headship, presently the only route for achieving the standard for headship which will become mandatory from 2005.

Mr Murphy cautioned against any move which might create an "ossified and centralised" college. He suggested that it could be confined to a quality assurance role rather than that of a provider.

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