Black and minority ethnic (BME) teachers will be transformed temporarily into Ofsted inspectors as part of a scheme to encourage more people from these backgrounds to become school leaders.
Officials at the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) think experience of Ofsted life will convince BME staff to go for top jobs.
The teachers will shadow inspectors on visits to two schools, but will not be directly involved in awarding judgements due to lack of training.
The shadowing programme, a collaboration with the Black Leadership Initiative, has been introduced following a successful pilot last year. It is open to BME teachers who are middle or senior managers.
In 20078, 12 per cent of those who signed up for initial teacher training said they were from a BME background but 24 per cent of those failed to qualify.
Just 2.4 per cent of teachers and between 2 and 5 per cent of heads are currently from BME backgrounds and the Government wants this to rise to 12 per cent. This academic year the Training and Development Agency for Schools spent pound;1 million on recruiting BME trainees.
The project forms part of NCSL's succession planning work. It is hoped that the experience as an "inspector" will boost the CVs of BME teachers and provide them with valuable new insights into school performance and effectiveness.
Thirty people took part in the pilot programmes and told NCSL officials that the project "raised their profile" within their own schools as well as their confidence, making them more likely to apply for headship roles.
So far two participants have become heads and another has gained a senior leadership post.
Elaine Williams, who is of Afro-Caribbean background, is to move to a large urban school from her current rural primary after taking part.
Miss Williams, 36, head at Birdsedge First School near Huddersfield, will take up her post at a 350-place junior school in Birmingham in January.
"It was invaluable to see what inspectors look for and to see how different schools are run," she said. "Having a mentor also gave us really focused professional development and honed our skills."