Heads have admitted that it is becoming too easy to pass their national professional qualification.
The admissions were made to Steve Munby, chief executive of the National College for School Leadership, during a marathon ring-round. He telephoned 500 heads, union leaders and council officials and the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) was one of the key areas for discussion.
"The majority of conversations I have had about the college were positive, but one thing that came out was that they like the NPQH but it is too easy to pass and people who complete it are not ready for headship," he said.
The NPQH, which can take up to two years to complete, and tests candidates on issues such as legal responsibilities and how to handle staff, was made compulsory for all new heads last year. Around 2,000 would-be heads started the course in March.
The comments were made in the run up to a series of nine regional conferences which could lead to radical changes to the way NCSL is run. The first conference was held yesterday in Newmarket, Suffolk.