Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, November 3, 1998 Published at 14:42 GMT


Warning over headship qualification

Primary headteachers seen as 'education leaders'

The recruitment crisis among primary school headteachers could be worsened by the government's proposal for a compulsory qualification, MPs are warning.

A report from the Commons Education Select Committee urges ministers to reconsider plans to make the new National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) compulsory from 2002.

The committee says there is a "danger of exacerbating recruitment difficulties, particularly in primary schools".

The committee heard evidence of a "pitifully low number of applications" for headships in primary schools: more than eight out of 10 of the smallest are getting 10 applications or fewer. In London, only 5% of all primary schools got more than 10 applications for vacant posts.

The government says the NPQH should be compulsory for all heads within four years, in recognition of the vital importance of the post.

'Too onerous'

But candidates are not queuing up to go on the new course. By September, only just over 4,500 deputy heads or senior teachers had registered, against the government's target of 5,000.

"Several witnesses suggested that this shortfall in applications was due to the perception that the NPQH would be too onerous to undertake on top of the duties of a deputy head or senior teacher," the report says.

It also points to fears that compulsory qualification might make recruitment even more difficult, by "putting a barrier in the way of able people moving into headship".

The MPs are against appointing head teachers who have never worked in the classroom, because of their primary role as "education leaders".

But they say there are many teachers who have left the profession but gone on to get valuable leadership and management skills in other fields, and say the government and the Teacher Training Agency "should develop a route into headship for those individuals" .

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Education Contents

Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

20 Oct 98 | Education
Blair sends heads back to college

19 Oct 98 | Education
Why I quit - head

09 Oct 98 | Education
Mutiny in the ranks?

10 Sep 98 | Education
Heads demand 17% pay rise

21 Jul 98 | Whiteboard
The chosen few

14 Jul 98 | Education
The first fully qualified heads

19 May 98 | News
Too few women headteachers

Internet Links

Education Select Committee

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'