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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Global advice for head teachers
The atrium in the 28m college building
The atrium in the 28m college building
Head teachers around the world could be invited to take part in an online community based in England.

Many developed countries are facing similar problems in education - and schools could benefit from the shared experience.

The National College for School Leadership, which will see the formal opening of a 28m purpose-built headquarters next month, wants to allow international access to its pioneering online forum for head teachers from next year.

NCSL entrance
The college is to provide online training materials for head teachers

In England, there are already 18,000 school leaders registered with the online forum - which is claimed as the most advanced head teachers' network in the world.

Head teachers can swap advice, experiences and concerns, in a confidential online community provided by the NCSL, which has been created to raise standards of school leadership.

Now the college wants to extend this to head teachers in other countries - in recognition that many education issues are now global.

Testing and targets, inspection, teacher shortages, pupil behaviour and the use of private companies in state education are issues which affect education authorities across the developed world.

Heads in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, plus Scotland and Wales, could be the first to share the network developed in England.

Sharing ideas

There would be individual national networks, plus access to common international heads network.

And e-learning materials for head teachers, produced by the college, could be made available to an international educational community.

Tony Richardson, the college's director of online learning, says that there has been great interest in setting up a world forum for sharing best practice among heads.

"Whether it's raising standards, managing behaviour or tackling underachievement, schools are facing similar questions," he says.

And he wants heads to be able to learn from the lessons discovered by other countries.

Education has many common themes around the world. For instance, in the United States and the United Kingdom there have been many parallels in the shortages of teachers and the problems of low standards in deprived areas.

Debates over the use of private companies in state education and the funding of higher education are also common to many countries.

And political parties and education authorities are increasingly looking overseas for inspiration.

Two years ago, the Department for Education took teachers from England to see examples of school systems in the United States.

And the Conservative party's education spokesperson has visited several countries in Europe to gather ideas.

See also:

05 Oct 00 | Education
05 Jun 00 | Education
24 Sep 02 | Education
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