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Let's encourage would-be heads, not put them off

School leaders' body the AHDS is positive about the "Into Headship" qualification and the planned extended induction for new headteachers. Clearly there is more to being a good headteacher than having a certificate, but we believe that the combination of quality pre- and post-appointment training will lead to heads who are better prepared for the challenges of the role. Indeed, these developments have the potential to encourage more people to take the path to leadership if they feel that candidates are valued and supported.

However, applications for headship are at an all-time low. In the primary sector, the number of new headteachers required each year is substantial but the financial incentive to take on the job is often close to non-existent. If the financial rewards currently on offer fail to attract sufficient candidates, how many more will be put off by the burden of study and the requirement to pay pound;1,000 towards it?

If we are serious about enhancing the quality of school leadership then we need to take hurdles away, not add more. We need a rethink on charging candidates to undertake this new qualification. Alongside that, we need action to ensure that clear financial incentives are in place to encourage teachers to aspire to headship.

Greg Dempster

General secretary of the

school leaders' body AHDS

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Letters for publication in TESS should arrive by 10am Monday. Send your letters, ideally of no more than 250 words in length, including contact address and phone number, by email to Letters may be edited

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