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Editor's comment

School promotion structures and the job- sizing toolkit may be up for renegotiation, if Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Education Secretary, follows through on her speech to education leaders last week. Salaries might be thrown in, too, if she heeds the counsel of Matthew MacIver, GTCS chief executive.

What does command consensus, however, is that the climate in Scottish schools is not conducive to creating young leaders in the numbers that will be required over the next five to 10 years. Evidently, the collegiality that was supposed to emerge from the national teachers' agreement has not yet been delivered in sufficient quantity or quality.

Alison Lewis (p4) is one young teacher bucking the trend. Within four years of stepping in front of a class, she is a head of department. She admits she has been fortunate. Not all are as lucky and it is this climate of negativity that exists in some staffrooms that Mr MacIver wants to see transformed.

When Mrs Hyslop publishes her promised document on educational leadership later this year, it will undoubtedly find many areas wanting. We know that HMIE has pinpointed weak leadership in one in five schools; we know fewer applicants are being attracted to leadership posts; and we know that some chartered teachers feel unappreciated and under-utilised.

The SNP's commitment to removing the shackles of ring-fenced funding and delegating more power to heads has risks. Its departure from the micro management approach of the previous administration and emphasis on looser outcome agreements will challenge the leadership abilities of councils and schools.

Can they rise to the challenge? Can Mrs Hyslop bring coherence and direction to an educational leadership landscape that many feel is too cluttered and rudderless? That is the challenge to her leadership.

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