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Fast-track overtaken by alternative leaders scheme

A scheme to attract high-flying teachers with aspirations to headship, has recruited almost the same numbers as the Government's costly fast-track programme Almost 250 teachers have applied to the Technology Colleges Trust's "Developing leaders for tomorrow" scheme aimed at staff with three to five years' experience.

The Government pound;14 million fast-track programme has resulted in 88 newly-qualified teachers, with another 117 in training, and 22 experienced teachers in fast-track posts. The TCT scheme operates at a fraction of the cost of fast track, with the trust picking up the six-figure bill for supply cover and travel expenses.

Frank Green, headteacher of Leigh city technology college in Dartford, Kent, has two teachers on the scheme. Candidates are identified as potential leaders by colleagues and senior managers, and are nominated for or apply for places.

"I would hope they will at least be heads of department, subject leaders or advanced skills teachers after three years," he said.

He believes the TCT and Department for Education and Skills schemes, taken together, should "ensure we get the next generation of good leaders as early as they are able to do it".

Jane Broomby, 27, a music teacher at Leigh CTC with five years in the profession, leapt at the chance to join the TCT scheme.

"I thought it would be a great opportunity. It's been great to meet people who think the same way, and it's going to be really good to see some leadership in industry."

The trust pays for supply cover and travel expenses for candidates to undertake placements in business and industry. It is also discussing accreditation of the scheme with a handful of universities, so teachers can earn academic credits towards masters degrees.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads' Association, said:

"The DfES would do well to look to this model, which encourages our best teachers to remain in the profession and opens up greater opportunities for them in the future. It has recruited as many teachers at a tiny fraction of the cost."

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