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Edinburgh's leadership development strategy

Edinburgh has embarked on a five-year rolling programme which recognises that leaders come in all shapes and sizes in schools and, unusually, in the council's education department.

The programme, developed and led by Colin Finlayson, former headteacher of James Gillespie's High in the city, aims to be "intellectually and professionally stimulating, relevant to and impacting on practice." It is built around two distinct strands, underlining the importance of building strategic leadership for individuals and in collegiate working. The topics cover curriculum, attainment, learning and teaching, support for pupils, ethos and management.

It includes a two-year induction into "leadership of learning and teaching", for which staff will have to commit themselves to five working days in each of the two years on top of their 35-hour CPD obligation.

The content is graded according to levels of seniority: principal teachers and council development officers, for example, might swap jobs with others at the same level, while heads and senior education officials could be paired with their counterparts in other schools or authorities.

Mr Finlayson supports the width of educational leadership set out in the Scottish Executive's guide on the subject, Continuing Professional Development for Educational Leaders. He emphasises "the need for leadership to be nurtured at all levels, whether staff are in promoted posts or not" and adds: "Every member of staff holding a promoted post is de facto in a leadership role in the learning community."

A key ingredient in Edinburgh's approach is that educational leaders must be aware of the wider scene. CPD should therefore raise their awareness of the issues in social work, the health service, voluntary agencies and business.

The package represents, Mr Finlayson believes, "a more integrated approach to professional development which will build relationships and a shared understanding between staff from schools, the education department and a wider range of services."

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