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Road to the top gets a bypass

Another area of flexibility was also announced by Peter Peacock - new routes will be offered to achieve the Standard for Headship.

Mr Peacock said that in future aspiring headteachers would not be confined to the Scottish Qualification for Headship and that other possibilities were being explored.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "While the SQH is an extremely good route for many teachers to undertake, and approximately 600 teachers have undertaken this programme, it has become clear that this does not suit all teachers in all circumstances.

"We intend to consider how to take this forward through several networks. A subgroup of the national CPD advisory group will look at leadership issues, of which methods of achieving the Standard for Headship is an important one."

Mr Peacock also responded to calls from headteachers to carry out an immediate review of the job-sizing exercise under the post-McCrone agreement by saying in effect, not now but maybe at some time in the future. "Job-sizing was agreed by all sides of the agreement. I know that one of your anxieties was that you were not actively engaged in the early days but no process is in tablets of stone for ever. There will be a time when we have to look at the elements and components of what was in the job-sizing exercise, but I am not about to trigger an immediate review.

Lindsay Roy, the HAS's incoming president, had told the conference earlier:

"We believe strongly that the time is right to begin a full review (of job-sizing). We have high hopes that this will be announced in the near future."

Mr Roy said that the job-sizing toolkit did not capture fully all the key roles undertaken by senior management teams, and anomalies and inconsistencies had to be addressed.

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