Staff - Leadership college to be learning hub

11th October 2013 at 01:00
Plans include access to course providers and online training

The long-awaited Scottish College for Educational Leadership will combine online resources with a register of existing course providers, and only "occasionally" host its own events, it has emerged.

John Daffurn and Margery McMahon, who are part of the team tasked with implementing the project, revealed the latest plans for the college last week, adding that it would be "independent and autonomous", and would be able to "set the leadership agenda".

They said the college would not only be open to headteachers and depute heads but would support "leadership for all". Other teachers would also be able to make use of extensive online resources and up-to-date research.

According to the plans, the new college will set up a register of organisations that provide courses and training for education leaders. It will mostly facilitate training opportunities, and will deliver its own education events only occasionally.

Mr Daffurn explained that there would be seven or eight venues across Scotland where events would take place, ensuring accessibility for all teachers.

There will also be a designated regional network of leaders, who will be the main point of contact for teachers and feed back to the college.

In addition, experienced headteachers will have the opportunity to apply for a place on a fellowship programme. This scheme aimed to take school leaders "beyond where they are", Mr Daffurn said, so they could work with policymakers on a national level.

The Scottish government announced in late September that the college would be going ahead, but details about how much it will cost are yet to be revealed.

"This is a big step in the right direction," said Greg Dempster, general secretary of union AHDS, adding that he was glad to see the government finally committing to a college for leadership in Scotland.

And Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, who has in the past spoken out for a purely virtual college, said he was "reasonably comfortable" with the suggested model. However, he added that funding was one of the key areas that was still "to be sorted".

It was also important for the new college not to be too closely associated with any other organisation, he said, and crucial to ensure accessibility so that there was no bias towards Scotland's central belt.

TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Education secretary Michael Russell has announced that pound;1.7 million will be made available to support innovative ways of providing master's-level training schemes for teachers.

The fund is the second portion of pound;3 million to support master's-level training announced last year. The other pound;1.3 million has so far been divided among more than 500 teachers.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS teaching union, said that Mr Russell had "underestimated the challenge of getting teachers engaged".

"People will engage with good-quality (continuing professional development)," he said. But he warned that, given their workloads, staff would struggle to find the time to do so.

A new Scottish master's framework is to be launched in August 2014.

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