Competent, alert, confident . . . and devastated

1st August 1997 at 01:00
I am a deputy headteacher in a large primary school. My job is challenging, demanding and exhausting, but I love it. I have 17 years' experience and have taught right across the primary range. Like all teachers, I know that I have room for improvement in some areas, but I am basically confident, and nothing in my career so far has suggested that I am not competent.

I recently attended several meetings about the National Professional Qualification for Head Teachers. I found that I would certainly have to apply for this if I wanted to be a headteacher. I do want to be a headteacher. I found that should I be accepted, I may not be fully funded, and may have to pay for some of the training myself.

I also found that all "aspiring headteachers" may apply regardless of length of experience, and that training would be offered to those who could show that they are "ready" for it. I feel ready for it.

The application form was lengthy and searching, and took several evenings and a weekend to complete. Nevertheless, I followed the rather confusing format and stuck to the criteria as closely as possible. My headteacher was very supportive and encouraging.

On July 18, the last day of term, I arrived home to find a second-class, photocopied letter dated July 14, written to "Dear colleague" informing me that I am not eligible for the qualification. I feel devastated.

I can have feedback in the autumn. So I have to wait seven weeks to work out where I go from here. The qualities being sought in us as managers, such as sensitivity and respect for our colleagues, are desperately lacking in those who aspire to be our mentors. Surely there must be a better way than this to provide much-needed training for aspiring heads?


20 Ampleforth Drive Stafford, Staffs

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