Teachers and school leaders in the most disadvantaged areas are being offered “scholarships” to improve their leadership skills, under Department for Education plans announced today.
The six scholarships are part of £184 million reforms of national professional qualifications (NPQs), and will begin from September this year.
Three of the scholarships will fund teachers and leaders to study three entirely new NPQs which are: leading teacher development, leading behaviour and culture, and leading teaching.
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The three other scholarships are for the study of reformed NPQ courses which are: senior leadership, headship and executive leadership.
Four of the six scholarships are available only to teachers and leaders in a state-funded schools in England that are "within the top 30th percentile in relation to pupils on pupil premium as of the end of the previous academic year”.
But Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said this was “regrettable” and that the number of NPQs offered was also being “constrained” by the number of providers approved to deliver them.
He said: “Government need to take a more permissive approach to encourage other high quality providers into the market, and ensure that schools have the funding to match, to reach far more teachers and leaders.
The other main heads’ union ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders), said it was concerned that the government’s engagement with the sector over NPQ reforms may have been “insufficient” during the Covid pandemic when school and college leaders’ attention has been elsewhere.
Sara Ford, deputy director of policy said: “The devil is in the detail and what we need to see is that the reformed NPQs are properly funded, made widely available and, critically, that the content is relevant and appropriate.”
The DfE says it will shortly publish a list of schools that are within the top 30th percentile to enable people to check their eligibility.
In an earlier document on reforming teacher training, it said the new NPQ courses “complete the golden thread” which begins with initial teacher training and were “rooting teacher and school leader development in the best available evidence and collective wisdom of the profession”.
Lead training providers that will deliver the reformed suite of national professional qualifications from autumn 2021 are:
Best Practice Network (home of Outstanding Leaders Partnership)
Church of England
Education Development Trust
Teacher Development Trust
UCL Institute of Education