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Exclusive: Chartered College to target headteacher pedagogy

College considering 'chartered headteacher' status to prevent leaders from 'butting against' teachers with more recent training

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College considering 'chartered headteacher' status to prevent leaders from 'butting against' teachers with more recent training

The Chartered College of Teaching is looking at how it can help headteachers keep up to date on their pedagogy so they don't end up on the "backfoot" by having less knowledge about research evidence than their staff.

In an exclusive interview with Tes, the college's chief executive, Dame Alison Peacock, said that current leadership development programmes were not focused around pedagogy and that the College could look at offering "chartered headship".

She also revealed that the membership of the College has now broken the 20,000 barrier.

At the Inspiring Leadership conference in Birmingham today, Dame Alison will announce the creation of a new group aimed at helping headteachers to "lead learning".

The College is joining forces with the Foundation for Leadership in Education to create the 'Leadership Development Advisory Group'.

The group will highlight evidence about the most effective ways to lead a school to foster good teaching and will review pathways for leadership development.

Dame Alison told Tes: “Teachers and expertise in teaching is something that needs to run all the way through the DNA of the school or the college.

"We want everybody at every stage within their career to really be engaging with the big ideas in education in order that we don’t just rely on whatever we were taught in our initial teacher training."

She said that if heads did not stay up to date with their pedagogy there was a risk they could be outstripped by some of their employees. 

"We’ve got teachers coming through things like the chartered teacher programme.

"Clearly you would want your school leaders to be in a position where they are leading that and not being on the backfoot.

"This is not about a deficit in our current leadership – it’s about saying if we believe that understanding evidence is important, then our leaders need to be completely with that.

"You could imagine a situation where the teachers coming through could almost butt against school leaders who perhaps haven’t had time to engage in these issues.

"If we’re not careful we’ll have one group of colleagues with more knowledge in a space than others." Asked whether this could take the form of the College offering "chartered headship", Dame Alison said the creation of the Leadership Development Advisory Group "is exactly the reason for having that conversation". 

"This is not about the Chartered College imposing things on headteachers or saying 'you need to get up to speed on this'. But if it’s something that there’s appetite for we should look at it I think."

She said that other leadership development programmes, such as the National Professional Qualification for Headship, were more focused on things like school finance, rather than "cognitive psychology", "up-to-date thinking around SEND" or "optimal ways of promoting dialogue within the classroom".

Dame Alison revealed to Tes that the membership of the College has now hit nearly 22,000. "It feels like we’re starting to be present in the landscape,” she said. 

She also revealed that the College's chartered teacher pilot scheme, which it launched at the beginning of this year, had seen some teachers "fall by the wayside" because of the "tough" assessments that candidates are required to undergo. 

“The feedback that we’re getting is that this is really tough but also very worthwhile,” she said. 

“We’ve had some teachers fall by the wayside for a variety of reasons.

"Some people were disappointed with their results and lots of people were very pleased.”

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