It’s been an intense and tough year or so for headteachers, especially new heads, who have had to deal with constantly changing guidance and a lack of support in the face of the pandemic. The government hopes a new 'targeted support package' will help those heads at breaking point.
The extra training will be offered to heads who are either currently taking the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), or who have completed the reformed NPQH.
The unveiling of the package by the Department for Education comes amid union warnings of a looming ‘exodus’ of headteachers.
School leaders’ union NAHT published a critical report earlier in the year calling out the government’s 'chaotic' handling of the pandemic, and pointing out how it intensified the stress and workloads leaders faced.
The report also suggested that the school leadership pipeline was ‘at risk of collapse,’ with a survey showing 46% of assistant and deputy leaders didn’t see themselves as future headteachers. A majority cited concerns over work-life balance.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said the additional support for heads has been a long time coming, but cautioned that it remains to be seen if the “announcement matches our ambitions for the profession.”
Available from September 2021, the specific details of what the support package will involve is set to be announced in due course.
Sara Ford, deputy director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, added that “sufficient funding” would be made available for scholarships in deprived areas.
“Since scholarships were suspended in July 2020, schools and colleges have had to find funding from within their already tight budgets to put the heads of tomorrow through this important training,” he said.
Will the support package go far enough to empower heads in their work? On schools’ behalf, succession planning will remain crucial – find out how Eteach can help you build up your pipeline of senior-leadership candidates.