Its target audience is teachers who are not interested in becoming chartered teachers or heads at this stage of their career, but may wish to lead specific projects for which they would receive CPD accreditation.
The postgraduate certificate in developing leadership and learning has been devised by the Educational Institute of Scotland with Glasgow and Edinburgh universities.
Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the EIS, said: "The new programme will support teachers wishing to build their confidence and practice as leaders, and is intended for teachers who aspire to or are in the early stages of developing their leadership role, as well as experienced teachers seeking to enhance their skills in working collaboratively."
The programme is based on the philosophy of distributed leadership in schools - that teachers have a central role in leading learning in schools - but makes a clear distinction between leadership of learning and management. The course is open to any teacher who has full registration and three years' teaching experience. The programme aims to: develop a critical understanding of the concept of leadership, particularly in the context of teacher leadership; foster critical reflective practice; and provide opportunities for the development and review of leadership skills.
It consists of three courses, each carrying 20 credits, to be completed over two years. The certificate programme is part of a Masters pathway and can be used towards a Masters degree in education and leadership at either Glasgow or Edinburgh university; accredited prior learning may be available for the chartered teacher programme.
It is designed to incorporate flexible learning opportunities and includes online learning and teaching sessions to support the development of practice. The course also offers opportunities to work collaboratively with other participants and in network support groups.
The development of the course follows the publication last year of the EIS's policy paper on school leadership; it would dovetail with the Standard for Leadership which is being considered by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.