A new leadership programme for existing heads is being developed by the Scottish Executive in conjunction with 10 local authorities and the Centre for Educational Leadership at Edinburgh University.
Frieda Fraser, a representative on the steering group for the Association of Headteachers in Scotland and headteacher of Crosshouse Primary in Greenhills, South Lanarkshire, says she hopes the programme will be funded by the Scottish Executive, local authorities and possibly other partners, such as Scottish Enterprise. "The job of headteacher is changing and there will always be a need for heads to update and hone their skills," she says.
The idea is that the programme would start with two days' self-appraisal, where each head would map out their professional development with the help of a facilitator. "We are looking to give participants the option of accreditation," says Mrs Fraser.
"The programme would take at least a year, depending on what needs the initial self-appraisal identifies. Component parts would include courses on strategic management, negotiating with unions, budgets and finances and leadership qualities and issues."
It will take 15 years for heads who haven't taken the Scottish Qualification for Headship to retire. Meanwhile, "CPD for these headteachers needs to be addressed," Mrs Fraser says.
"Research shows that the single most important thing in a school is the headteacher and their ability to lead and manage," she says.
She is hopeful that a pilot leadership programme for heads may start after the summer.