A Scottish College for Educational Leadership will be up and running by August of next year, it was announced this week.
The creation of the college is envisaged in the National Partnership Group report, which outlines how the Donaldson review of teacher education can be put into action.
Potential models for the college will be investigated by a new National Implementation Board, set up by the government on the recommendation of the NPG, to drive forward change in teacher education. Its chair will be Petra Wend, principal of Queen Margaret University (see panel).
This scoping exercise is to be completed by the spring, with the college in place by August next year.
Primary and secondary school leaders have already expressed concerns about the shape the leadership college might take.
The college needs to be more than virtual, with some sort of physical centre, suggests Greg Dempster, general secretary of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland.
But Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, warns that Scotland cannot afford to build a physical leadership college in times of financial hardship.
The college would not be "a whole bunch of people in a building delivering programmes", said Glenn Rodger, co-chair of the NPG and director of education and lifelong learning in the Borders.
Its job would be to help people access programmes and if gaps appeared, to develop something to fill them.
"It will need an element of staffing but it will not be staff-heavy," he said.
"Ultimately it is expected that the college will offer its opportunities online," states the report.
The college will provide leadership development for all parts of the education sector, not just schools, and could eventually encompass all public services, it says.
IN THE CHAIR
Petra Wend, principal of Queen Margaret University, has made her mark in the three years since she took up her post.
A German-born linguist, fluent in five languages and with direct experience of universities in four countries, she combines an international perspective with leadership expertise, gained at the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) and Oxford Brookes University, as well as through extensive research into leadership.
In August, she became vice-convener of Universities Scotland, the sector's umbrella organisation in Scotland, after chairing its learning and teaching committee for the past two years. She sits on the boards of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and the joint government and Scottish Funding Council's skills committee.
A keen artist and Arsenal fan, she once worked in Spain as a windsurfing instructor.