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New training for novice heads is too theoretical, says union

The revamped training package for new headteachers is too theoretical and sticks too slavishly to the Government's agenda, according to the biggest heads' union.

The replacement for Headlamp will give new heads pound;2,500, over three years, to spend on training from the autumn. Since Headlamp started in 1995, 11,500 heads have applied and the National College for School Leadership, which manages the programme, is expecting around 1,500 applications a year for the new induction programme.

Details of what heads will have to study have yet to be published, but core, though not compulsory, modules cover behaviour and ethos, inclusion, raising achievement, working with governors, and "remodelling" the workforce.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said new heads needed practical help, for example, with managing budgets, personnel and technology.

He said: "Like so much of the leadership development under the national college, the Headteacher Induction Programme is very focused on the Government's policy agenda and heavily driven by its requirements. It is too theoretical and does not have sufficient practical content."

NAHT is a major provider of Headlamp courses, but will not offer HIP, even though it is expanding training, because it believes the new scheme is not cost-effective.

Robin Attfield, NCSL's assistant director of leadership, defended HIP, which is supported by the Secondary Heads' Association.

He said: "HIP is about giving heads in their first post the means to plan their professional development in the light of school context, previous training and individual learning styles... by assembling their own package from a wide range of approved providers.

"The modules within HIP are practical rather than theoretical and reflect the major issues and challenges facing heads today."

For registration inquiries, contact Emma Tubb on 0115 872 2082 or email

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