programme aimed at offering newly appointed headteachers the most
powerful experiences for leadership learning that can be designed.
Visions Induction to Headship Programme. If successful, this could
become a national training programme in the future.
The year-long pilot involves the new heads participating in regional
networks that combine study, problem-solving and peer support. The
focus is on addressing real issues which participants are facing in
their schools. Together the new heads analyse and debate leadership
styles and approaches, support each other in implementing them and
jointly evaluate the outcomes.
'Early headship can be an incredibly daunting and isolating
experience and it is therefore vital we create the strongest possible
learning and support framework for headteachers who are new into
post,' said David Jackson, director of research and school
improvement at NCSL.
'This programme is breaking away from more traditional didactic
methods of training. Instead, it is built around the lived experience
of early headship. We are creating learning communities, linking up
school leaders and providing them with learning experiences which are
targeted at the particular challenges they face.'
A total of 11 groups have been established spreading from Kent
and Bristol in the South to York in the North. Each group has between
eight and 15 members and is led by an experienced facilitator
and two consultant headteachers. The groups will attend 12 workshops
over a year. Participants will also be able to debate issues and
support each other via a New Visions online community.
Jackson added 'Our aim is to encourage collaborative learning habits
which participants will continue to use throughout their career. We
want to create a culture whereby heads can in turn support and
sustain those in their schools who will be the leaders of the
Participants have responded overwhelmingly to the first set of
workshops in March.
Patrick Marshall, headteacher of Marriotts School, Stevenage, said:
'It's been inspirational, profoundly appropriate for the stage of
headship I find myself in. The programme forces you to look at the
role of the headteacher. It's about making those skills real with
Another participant said: 'To know this kind of expertise and support
is there is great. It'll probably encourage more people to be heads.'
The New Visions Induction to Headship pilot programme forms a key
part of the College's work to create a coherent leadership
development framework for schools.
The pilot has been designed by leading education professionals
including Professor John West-Burnham from the International
Leadership Centre at the University of Hull, Howard Kennedy, Managing
Director of the London Leadership Centre, Chris Cotton, Leadership
Consultant at NCSL and Jane Creasy, Project Leader for the New
An independent evaluation of the pilot to examine its impact, quality
and relevance is being carried out by Professor Tony Bush of Reading
University. NCSL is also conducting its own evaluation of
participants' experience of the programme.
The pilot is one part of NCSL's 'New Visions for Early Headship'
research and development programme. This also incorporates:
- A desk study to review best practice and research nationally and
internationally within the early headship field.
- A development programme for heads and teams linked to NCSL's
'Building Capacity for School Development' programme.
- A study of best practice internationally in the support of new
headteachers, including study groups, internships, coaching and
support for teams.
- A themed programme of research into early headship by three
headteachers, currently NCSL Research Associates.
- A large scale national survey of the needs of new headteachers.