Divert the course of heads training;Opinion;Letter

8th January 1999 at 00:00
I UNDERSTAND that the Teacher Training Agency is experiencing difficulties with the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) since many of the early candidates are failing to produce the written assessments. Having attended all the compulsory training, I find myself in the position of being one of these candidates.

The assessments are immensely time consuming to produce, time which is next to impossible to find for someone such as myself with a busy, responsible role in the senior management of a large comprehensive school (and a young family of my own).

The tasks are unstimulating, being almost exclusively backward-looking, concerned with tasks accomplished as a deputy, rather than looking forward to a role as a head. This perpetuates the mistake so often made in education of promoting people who were good at their last job, regardless of whether they will be good at the next one.

In a large secondary school, deputies and senior teachers are bound to be specialising in one area of management at any one time. The tasks require a candidate to have had a recent finger in every conceivable development pie and are therefore almost impossible for any one individual to fulfil.

An accelerated route has been set up, this misses out the learning experience of the programme, but retains the turgid, uninspiring and time-consuming assessment process. The NPQH therefore comes perilously close to simply being an exercise in writing an extended letter of application.

Unless the nature of this qualification is adapted quickly, either the Government will be unable to fulfil its pledge to only appoint NPQH-qualified candidates, or the candidates appointed will be no better prepared than they have been in the past - possibly both.

Kevin Moss 54 Broadway Close Bourne, Lincolnshire

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