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Wanted: 900 new headteachers

Over the next five years, 900 new headteachers will have to be found for Scottish schools - 130 for secondary and 730 for primary.

The statistics, provided by the General Teaching Council for Scotland, have pushed succession planning up the agenda. Data from HM Inspectorate of Education reports suggests that between 80-85 per cent of Scottish establishments are well led - but in 15-20 per cent of schools, leadership is weak or unsatisfactory. Behind the figures is a new focus on leadership.

This month, HMIE is expected to venture into new territory with a report focusing on its vision of effective leadership and continuing professional development.

The thinking behind the report is that aspects of leadership can be learned and competencies developed over time. The cult of the charismatic leader is not given much credibility - rather, the focus is on distributive leadership and the need for a strategic overview at a time where more integrated working with children's services is required.

The inspectorate is expected to high-light the need to develop CPD programmes at all levels, including auxiliaryclassroom assistants; that leadership capacity needs to be built up particularly at middle management level; and that there should be a focus on leadership for learning which has a direct impact on all pupils, from those with additional support needs to those who are higher attaining.

The inspectorate is expected to endorse coaching and mentoring as an effective form of professional development.

Sukhmani Kaur, a P1 pupil at Glendale Primary in Glasgow, praised by HMIE for its anti-racism work, with Balqees Hassan, who provides bilingual classroom support. Photograph: Ashley CoombesEpicscotland

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