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Inspiring successful leaders

Your coverage of last week's announcement about a new leadership initiative for Scottish educationists, "Hunter cash helps train new leaders", appears to put the Columba 1400 approach to leadership (supported by the Hunter Foundation) and the Scottish Qualification for Headship in opposition to each other.

Having myself been involved in carrying out Scottish Executive-funded evaluations of both of these programmes, it seems to me that this is a profound misapprehension of the purposes of the two initiatives.

The aims of each programme are very different indeed. The SQH is a workplace-based programme of professional development for intending headteachers, which our study demonstrated had brought about very significant changes in the schools where the candidates were working.

These included changes in teaching and learning, as well as considerable professional development for the individuals concerned. It has been playing a key role in preparing teachers for the professional demands of contemporary headship.

The Columba 1400 Headteacher Leadership Academy on the other hand, in its pilot phase, was aimed at a wide range of educational leaders, including some very experienced headteachers, and sought to provide them with an opportunity to reflect and to inspire them as organisational leaders.

It is a programme based on a generic view of what it is that makes successful leaders and is not designed to cover the wide range of specifically educational leadership skills which are examined in the SQH.

Furthermore, the Columba 1400 programme was backed by the Executive and the Hunter Foundation as part of the Executive's Determined to Succeed enterprise education policy. Our study of this programme (led by Professor David Deakins, University of Paisley) showed a powerful inspirational effect on the majority of participants.

I would encourage your readers to read both of the evaluation reports for themselves. The SQH report is available from the Scottish Executive Education Department; the Columba 1400 report is available from the Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport Department.

Ian Menter

Chair in teacher education

Glasgow University

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