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A new team of education experts to strengthen leadership in Scotland's schools is to be set up....
A new team of education experts to strengthen leadership in Scotland's schools is to be set up.

The Executive and the Hunter Foundation have joined forces to fund the team.

It will ensure headteachers, directors of education and other senior staff have access to world-class thinking and leadership development opportunities.

The team, backed by joint funding of£500,000 a year, will use examples of good practice from around the world to strengthen existing leadership programmes and to develop new, innovative models.

Education minister Peter Peacock said:

'The importance of the quality of school leadership cannot be under-estimated. Excellence in leadership makes all the difference to a child's success at school and in later life.'

Tom Hunter, chairman of The Hunter Foundation said:

'This is again about raising our overall game in education to ensure that Scotland leads the world in delivering the very best in leadership.'

Mr Peacock added:

'Today's announcement is another exciting partnership with the Hunter Foundation and will underpin our drive for ambitious, excellent schools in every Scottish community. It will help schools and education authorities access the best possible leadership development opportunities.'

Mr Hunter added:

'The small, highly effective team of professionals will not be a delivery vehicle, more an organisation that can determine gaps in the marketplace and define solutions to those gaps. In addition it will provide a dynamic source of knowledge to the provider in the pursuit of excellence for all.'

Adverts for an expert to head up the new team will appear shortly but work to drive forward the leadership agenda will continue in the meantime.

Building on the success of a pilot scheme at Columba 1400 on Skye last year, which saw 90 senior education staff take part in a headteacher leadership academy programme, The Hunter Foundation and the Executive will invest a further£500,000 in Columba 1400 this year.

This will fund additional places and three new pilot leadership projects:

* models of engaging whole schools (pupils and teachers) in leadership development

* a 'whole community' leadership programme, where a cross-section of teachers, pupils, parents and key community bodies will participate in a leadership development programme

* collegiate leadership working across several schools and education authorities

The Executive and the Hunter Foundation have been undertaking research in other parts of the UK and abroad to examine best practice in leadership development.

The new team will work directly with education authorities and use this best practice to support existing leadership programmes and develop new ones which stretch the boundaries of existing practice.

The estimated cost of the team is£500,000 a year. The Hunter Foundation will provide around£100,000 a year, with the Executive making up the balance.

The Hunter Foundation and the Executive are also to jointly invest£500,000 in Columba 1400 to provide further places on the headteacher leadership academy programme and to pilot three new leadership projects.

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