Dear David...

11th July 1997 at 01:00
The TES is publishing readers' open letters to David Blunkett in an occasional series:

Why are you forcing aspiring deputy heads to get a qualification that will make them less efficient?

I am referring to the new NPQH (National Professional Qualification For Headteachers) - compulsory for all those wanting to become heads.

The NPQH will involve deputies working many hours a week on lectures, training sessions and essays about management.

I believe that deputy heads who are doing their job properly are already working every possible hour. Excluding travel time and lunch times, I am currently averaging 58 hours a week. I simply could not fit in an NPQH without doing my other tasks less well, including classroom teaching. I have only found time to write this letter because I am at home recovering from a minor operation.

I applaud the motivation behind the scheme which is to make sure our schools are run by professionally qualified and competent leaders. It is clear that some heads neglect professional training. Naturally this had led in some cases to inefficiency and poor management.

But the NPQH will do nothing to change the situation of the head who refuses or is unable to keep up to date. Most deputies aspiring to headships have already got second or higher degrees and the NPQH will do nothing at all to improve their efficiency or capability for headship.

I urge you to think again. I will certainly not be doing an NPQH because I don't want to do my present job badly in order to achieve it. I am sure I am not alone in this belief and the NPQH will be denying the educational system some potentially excellent headteachers.

Larry Hartley Deputy head at an Essex comprehensive school 13 Vesta Close Coggeshall, Essex Have your say by writing to: Dear David co Newsdesk, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY.

Fax: 0171 782 3200; email:

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