Head training below par

20th July 2007 at 01:00
ASPIRING HEADS are not being taught enough about key educational policies in Wales on a compulsory course for headship, according to Estyn.

Tutors of the National Professional Qualification for Headship were blamed in a report, published by the inspection body this week, for candidates' lack of understanding of wider policy issues outside their schools.

Keeping up with fast-paced changes to educational policy is seen as a major headache for many school leaders in Wales, who repeatedly complain of being swamped by lengthy documents detailing new directions.

An ageing population of heads has also made the need for a new generation of school leaders an urgent matter. But inspectors found scant attention was paid to the "Welsh context" of the NPQH course despite being run by Walesbased trainers under the Consortium for Leadership Training.

A lack of knowledge over appointment and employment issues was also noted. Other flaws, such as poor admin in producing programme guides late, was also found during inspection of the most recent course, which ends this month. But overall they found standards of training to be good.

Susan Lewis, chief inspector, said a lack of understanding of the "na- tional strategic priority" meant candidates would not see the bigger picture on promotion.

"Potential heads must consider the wider issues needed in their role," she said, following the report's release.

The most recent cohort was found to have a good understanding of how their own schools operated, although some who had never gained access to school budgets struggled during the finance training.

But inspectors found that although course materials drew on leadership examples from both England and Wales, much of the texts relating to key Welsh policy documents were not always brought to the attention of participating teachers.

They gave an example of the Assembly government's document on the Welsh language, Iaith Pawb, saying course followers from English- medium schools were not made aware of it.

By 2010 it is predicted 1,500 teachers will have been awarded the NPQH since it was first introduced in 1997.

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