Eligible as a head but at what price?

1st August 1997 at 01:00
It is with interest and some concern that I read about the mandatory requirement of a National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH) for future headships. There are three deputy heads at my school and all of us have applied for the qualification.

Last Saturday we were all informed that we should be congratulated because we were all "eligible" . . . but "unfunded".

When I went to the briefing session on the following Monday I was congratulated again on my outstanding success in being found eligible. On asking about the lack of funding I was informed that funds were very limited, that only 24 applicants had received funding out of a large eligible field and that as we all worked in a grant-maintained school, we should seek some other source of funding such as paying the fees out of the generous school in-service training budget.

My calculations for this are as follows: Pounds 2,900 x 3 = Pounds 8,700 (plus cost of supply cover for 25 days each - the requirement to complete the course) 25 x Pounds 120 per day (approx) x 3 = Pounds 9,000 In total this suggestion will cost our school Pounds 17,700, which is almost half of the total INSET budget.

First, I am not sure that other members of staff will find this a good use of limited funds, and second, I am rather concerned that having embarked on this choice of alternatives the school will change from grant-maintained to foundation status - and our INSET funding will be cut in any case. We will then be in a position of being unable to pay the bill! The alternative is to take out career development loans or pay for this mandatory qualification ourselves.

I have a non-working, expectant wife and two other children and this sort of cost would be completely prohibitive. The other two deputies are in a similar situation financially.

In conclusion it seems that three eligible deputies - and potential heads - are going to be unable to complete the required course and consequently will be unavailable for headships when the jobs arise. So much for solving a shortage crisis.

PETER WICKERT

Saint George's School Meadow Road Gravesend Kent

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