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Can David Blunkett keep his promise?

In the future heads may only be appointed after full training. The Labour party manifesto promised: "We will establish mandatory qualifications for the post. A headteacher will be appointed to a position only when fully trained to accept the responsibility."

But given the numbers of heads currently seeking early retirement - and difficulty in some areas of finding replacements - now is not a particularly auspicious time to be erecting any barriers to headship. So it may be some time yet before Mr Blunkett redeems that particular pledge.

Those who do want to become heads, however, are likely to find some kind of qualification is increasingly being looked for. So what is the best preparation for headship, whether or not such training becomes mandatory? Will the new national professional qualification for headteachers (NPQH) be the best or the only acceptable standard? And where does that leave the education MBA and other postgraduate school management qualifications? Will they be superceded? Or will they simply absorb the NPQH as part of what they offer?

The TES School Management Update on June 6 will include an analysis of school management higher degrees - what they provide, where they are available, how much they cost and what they are good for - as well as looking at this term's NPQH pilot courses.

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