Headlines: September 11th, 2003

Education inspectors have found significant weaknesses in the training provided to newly appointed headteachers. Ofsted has been looking into the Headlamp programme and inspectors reported finding good quality training overall but they have highlighted the need for improvementsTheir report, Training for Newly Appointed Headteachers: the Headteachers’ Leadership and Management Programme, says new headteachers have gained in confidence and broadened their understanding of leadership and management as a result of the programme.

But the survey of six Headlamp providers, selected to represent the range of registered providers, highlighted a number of issues of concern as well as what the report calls “several significant areas of weakness where the overall effectiveness of the programme had been reduced.” These included the failure of the majority of providers effectively to identify the development needs of individual headteachers and the lack of formal monitoring procedures to measure the progress that participants had made. The inspectors also noted that little progress had been made in these areas even though similar weaknesses had been identified in an earlier inspection between 1995 and 1997.

Most newly appointed headteachers reported, though, that the training had helped develop their confidence, knowledge and understanding of leadership and management. Overall, inspectors found the quality of training offered by the providers inspected to be good or very good.

The Headlamp scheme was introduced in April 1995 to support the development of recently appointed heads by making use of a range of training methods such as short courses, seminars, conferences and one-to-one mentoring. Ofsted recommends that future training programmes should ensure that the process for identifying individual needs is robust and that the outcomes are used constructively to devise a rigorous and systematic training programme. They are also calling for trainers across the range of roles to receive appropriate training themselves and that this should be supported by clear guidance and documentation.