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‘Ditch the idea of hero headteachers’

Labour MSP criticises the title of Scotland's Headteachers' Charter, arguing that it promotes the idea of 'hero heads'

We need to abandon the idea of hero headteachers, argues Labour MSP Johann Lamont

The title of Scotland’s imminent Headteachers’ Charter should be changed because it promotes the outdated idea of school leaders as “heroes” who can transform schools singlehandedly, according to an MSP and former teacher.

Labour MSP Johann Lamont, who previously had a career as a secondary teacher, asked why the government was “persisting in calling it a Headteachers’ Charter” when teaching and parent bodies “want it to be something more collegiate, which is a school charter”.

She said the emphasis should be on “leadership at every level inside a school” and that many people do not subscribe to “a hero-leader model”.

Ms Lamont made her comments as the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee grilled education secretary John Swinney today over issues such as the charter, which is designed to devolve more powers to heads.

Headteachers 'must have more control'

However, Mr Swinney said that, regardless of the name of the Headteachers’ Charter, he believed that heads should “work collaboratively with staff, parents, pupils and wider partners”.

He added: “But I do l believe that headteachers must be able to exercise more flexibility and have more control than they have just now, which is why the provisions in this charter are so significant.”

Mr Swinney also stressed that he has never sought to change the line of accountability between heads and local authorities, which run about 95 per cent of schools in Scotland. He added that, despite newspaper articles suggesting the contrary, “at no stage was I ever going to academise Scottish education”.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced that the headteachers’ charter would be published by the end of the calendar year.

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