Headlines: January 14th, 2009

The first cohort of heads of children’s services to take part in a leadership development programme will start the course later this year. The programme is to be run jointly by the National College of School Leadership, the Children’s Workforce Development Council and the Association of the Directors of Children’s Services, which said it was not a reaction to recent events.

The Children’s School and Families Secretary, Ed Balls, confirmed that the first group of directors and senior managers from local authorities would start work by the autumn. The Programme is being developed as part of the children’s workforce strategy to 2020.

Maggie Atkinson, who is president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said the role was one of the most challenging in local government and needed unique leadership skills. That meant it was important that current directors helped to design and deliver a programme that reflected the demands of the job. She added, “This is not about whether a director come from an education or social services background, but about ensuring that leaders are in a position to lead the development of services for children and young people across the board, including health and police services that impact on them. Nor is this a knee jerk reaction to recent events, it has been in the pipeline for sometime as part of the workforce strategy.”

The Chief Executive of the National College for School Leadership, Steve Munby, said strong leadership was vital in any organisation but there could be few areas where it was more important than in leading children’s services. Jane Haywood of the Children’s Workforce Development Council added, “We know that strong leaders make a real difference to services for children and young people. This programme will allow a step change in developing those leaders to make a lasting impact on all aspects of their lives.”