Career clinic

This week Professor John Howson answers questions about the headship qualification and TLR payments

Professor John Howson

Leadership training

I understand that it is no longer compulsory for aspiring heads to have the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). I work in a challenging school as a deputy and want a headship, but I really don't feel I can find time to undertake the training. I also don't think it is fair on my school for me to give them less than 100 per cent. Would it ruin my chances of headship if I did not do the NPQH?

You are correct in saying that the NPQH will no longer be mandatory from September in England. However, my guess is secondary schools will continue to want some concrete evidence of leadership development, probably by way of either a qualification such as a higher degree involving a study of leadership or some other credible professional development, perhaps from your professional association.

On the positive side, the abolition of the mandatory requirement may help the primary and special school sectors, where headteacher recruitment has been more of a problem and the NPQH probably did not always help.

The other issues you raise in your question are, to me, more interesting. It is your career, and you need space to develop it: so by all means give 100 per cent to your school, but do leave something for yourself, otherwise there is a risk that nobody else will worry about your career development.

If you are in a challenging school, the opportunity to undertake a placement elsewhere as part of a leadership development programme may provide insights into leadership that will help you in your current job, even if you do not achieve a headship.

As for whether or not doing the NPQH will hinder your career, I am inclined to think that having one may give a boost to your chances, at least while the memory of the mandatory requirement is fresh in the minds of those appointing new heads, especially if most other candidates have it and you do not. There seems little to lose but much to gain by doing the NPQH or something similar.

Extra responsibilities

I am a part-time primary school teacher (on 0.6 of the timetable). I am the 'curriculum leader' and am on the upper pay scale, but I receive no management time and no teaching and learning responsibility (TLR)payment. What are the rules on providing management time and TLR payments to those with responsibilities?

Your school should have a staffing structure agreed between the head and the governing body, and hopefully it is reviewed regularly to ensure it is still fit for purpose. In smaller primary schools, it is common for some posts not to have a TLR because of budget constraints, although the actual additional amounts can be quite small.

However, if others on staff are receiving TLRs for roles involving less work than you are undertaking, you have an issue to take to the head and the governors, possibly through the staff governor.

You should ask the governing body to review the structure to see whether your post should be included. If others are allowed management time in addition to the normal planning, preparation and assessment time, you should ask about that as well.

However, the governors may say they cannot afford any additional pay or time allowance, and that doing the work is good experience. That is fine so long as everyone is treated the same and you can decide whether to do the additional work or not. But if different standards apply to different individuals then that is neither within the spirit nor the letter of the rules about TLRs.

Finally, if you think you should be better rewarded, start the search for another school offering a TLR for similar work. If the school wants to keep you, and can afford it, that may spur the head to action. If you cannot easily find other similar posts offering TLRs, it may be that schools have decided the work does not warrant additional payments. Being part-time should be no bar to receiving a TLR.

Professor John Howson is our resident career expert, with 40 years in education, including spells as a teacher, academic, school recruitment researcher and government adviser.

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Professor John Howson

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