Balls looks to wider role for leadership college

6th March 2009 at 00:00
Review could see NCSL remit extended to cover entire children's workforce

The national College for School Leadership's remit could be extended further following a major review of the quality of children's workers, Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, has indicated.

The plans come as the NCSL was handed responsibility for the training and development of directors of children's services.

Mr Balls, in his annual letter to the NCSL setting out its priorities, confirmed Pounds 85 million funding for 2009-10 - up Pounds 4m on this year - but said the college will have to show it is working at maximum efficiency during the recession.

The review is part of the 2020 Children and Young People's Workforce Strategy, announced in December, to ensure everyone who works with young people is "highly skilled". The college is part of the review and Mr Balls says he wants to see how its remit "can be refocused to the benefit of the whole children's workforce".

"At the end of the review we will need to discuss whether there are other aspects of the workforce strategy to which the college should contribute.

"The college will continue to be a key partner in our strategy to ensure that schools have the capacity to fulfill their role and deliver the outcomes we are committed to for children and young people. I am also looking to the college to become involved... in supporting the wider children's workforce developments."

Mr Balls wants the college's "single biggest priority" to be succession planning as a generation of headteachers prepares to retire. He wants staff to work on finding leaders who can help raise standards in schools, narrow gaps in educational achievement and devise ways of providing more support to senior and middle managers in schools and other educational establishments.

"The college should continue to ensure that the system has the volume and quality of school leaders needed to implement the drive on standards and well being. The college's success in 2009-10 will again continue to be judged largely by its performance on these issues," Mr Balls writes. "It is very important that the college is operating at maximum efficiency, especially at this time of change and severe economic pressures."

Other new work for the college is likely to include finding ways of helping children from poorer homes do well in school, designing a training programme for chairs of school governors, and helping schools in the employment of apprentices.

Mr Balls said he welcomed progress with the redesigned National Professional Qualification for Headship and the National Leaders in Education recruitment scheme, which forms part of the National Challenge programme.

Steve Munby, the college's chief executive, said: "This year's remit letter is a great tribute to the success of the college. We are determined to do even more over the next 12 months to help make this country an even better place for children to grow up in."

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