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Education minister Baroness Blackstone told the lords yesterday that the government would introduce the professiona...
Education minister Baroness Blackstone told the lords yesterday that the government would introduce the professional qualification for head teachers by 2002, before the end of this parliament.

Giving a progress report, she said: 'Meanwhile, 4,900 candidates are currently undergoing training, of which some 80 have already qualified. A number have been appointed to headship posts.

'The new qualification has been subject to careful evaluation throughout its development. The feedback has been positive in showing the training has developed candidates' management and leadership skills. I believe the qualification is well on track'.

Lord Dormand of Easington, a former chief education officer, welcomed the 'long overdue training qualification', but asked if there was a danger that making it a mandatory requirement for applicants was being implemented too soon, especially because of the large number of early retirements which have been taken by head teachers.

Baroness Blackstone said the government will not introduce a statutory requirement for all head teachers to have the qualification until it is confident that the pool of teachers available with itis sufficiently large to meet the vacancies for head teachers.

The minister said the training was in four modules, including one dealing with teaching and learning. Training programmes took into account that being head of a small primary school was different from that of a large comprehensive. Each applicant would be assessed according to their existing qualifications and experience and the programme they would follow will be modelled according to their specific needs.

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