2nd November 2007 at 00:00
Q: I teach Year 6 in a two-form entry school. I'm also key stage 2 literacy co-ordinator. I am aiming for deputy headship and would like some advice as to what continuing professional development I need to feel experienced enough to apply. Our head has sent people on leadership courses in the past but won't be sending any others.

A: I think that there are two main areas where you may want to consider professional development. These are the areas of leading a team and what might be described as developing an understanding of the wider school scene. The development of a wider "helicopter" vision of education, which allows you to rise above the day to day and put your work into a wider educational context, is a key attribute for successful leadership. Many programmes, such as the Leading from the Middle course offered by the National College for School Leadership, attempt to offer elements of both areas, although this programme has a strong coaching element. There may be other courses offered by a local university that offer the same sort of programme but without the coaching.

Any employer is faced with the dilemma that spending cash on staff development risks training their staff for others to reap the benefits. They don't always understand that schools that offer support for professional development also attract staff members keen to work there. All I can suggest is that you will have either to invest your own resources or find a post in another school. Finally, with about eight years of service, and having undertaken some professional development, you should be in a position to start applying for a deputy headship

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University. To ask him a question, email him at askjohnhowson

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