Aspiring heads are not being excluded from gaining professional teacher status, it has emerged.
The line between senior teachers and leaders is so "blurred" that teachers with one eye on school leadership are being actively encouraged to gain chartered status, placing them on a professional footing with dentists and lawyers, according to the General Teaching Council for Wales.
Hayden Llewellyn, the GTCW's chief executive, told TES Cymru's sister paper TES Scotland that a programme purely for good teachers who wanted to stay in the classroom - the original intention of the chartered teachers scheme - was not workable.
He said the decision to extend the programme to aspiring heads was taken after consultation showed that many classroom teachers, particularly in smaller primary schools, also took on leadership roles.
"We see the chartered teacher programme being for people in both groups," Mr Llewellyn told the TESS.
There is no compulsion for aspiring heads to sign up to the programme, which is still under trial, and there is no salary incentive. However, the GTCW believes it could influence promotion.
Scotland has its own flagship scheme. Teachers earn more as they complete modules towards achieving professional status but have to pay for the courses.
In Wales, however, it has been decided that teachers will not have to pay for their training, making it popular. So far, the programme - which has 140 places for primary, secondary and special needs teachers - has been oversubscribed.
"One of the things that's worked particulary well is the cross phase working,' Mr Llewellyn said. "Primary, secondary and special needs teachers are working well together."
Tony Finn, chief executive of the GTC for Scotland, sees the Welsh way of incorporating a leadership dimension to the programme as sensible, but says that would not be welcomed in Scotland.
Independent evaluation of the Welsh pilot is expected in August. Roll out of the programme nationally will start in 2010, if accepted.