The Excellence in Headship programme supports head teachers who have been in post for two years or more to strengthen and expand their school leadership skills – with a strong focus on delivering excellence and equity for all children and young people in Scotland.
About Excellence in Headship
The Excellence in Headship programme provides a holistic approach to leadership professional learning and development for head teachers across Scotland. The programme design maps to the GTCS Standard for Headship and references a Model of Professional Learning* to support self- evaluation and review. Excellence in Headship will:
- provide an annual offer of leadership professional learning opportunities available in a range of formats to meet the needs of all head teachers.
- take cognisance of the programme design and content of Into Headship, In Headship and Fellowship programmes.
- include opportunities for collaborative learning, cross-system learning, coaching and mentoring, network development, issue exploration, international exchange and engagement with online learning.
The Excellence in Headship programme aims to:
- increase awareness of, and engagement with, current thinking in relation to policy, literature and research
- enhance the capacity of head teachers to be lead learners through a focus on pedagogical leadership
- broaden networks and structures to enhance collegial and collaborative capacity within head teachers and across the system
- provide opportunities to stretch and challenge professional curiosity and interest
- facilitate authentic learning experiences to embed learning and practice to enhance understanding of organisational and system change and improvement
- create opportunities to support individualised learning pathways
- map learning opportunities to the GTCS Standard for Headship to support links with professional review and development and professional update.
Head teachers undertaking the programme will:
- continue to develop a critical understanding of all aspects of leadership drawing from a broad range of relevant research and literature
- be supported to enact leadership strategies within their own context
- critically reflect on professional experience and use current practice as a learning tool to develop a culture of sustained professional growth for self and others
- engage with others and work collaboratively to further develop understanding and share practice in leadership
(MPL, Reeves, J. and Fox, A. 2008 and Forde, C. 2011)
The Excellence in Headship programme offers an annual planned programme of leadership professional learning opportunities for head teachers in Scotland. The programme is structured around six core themes in which all participants can engage. These include:
- leadership and critical self-awareness (two-day residential induction programme).
- leadership of learning (including international literature and links).
- values based leadership (a specific focus initially through partnership arrangement with Columba 1400)
- people and partners (to include working with community champions).
- leading systems change (including international literature and links).
- organisational effectiveness.
Induction to the programme is through a two-day residential session. Each individual residential session will cater for up to 50 participants with a focus on building collaborative networks, increasing leadership self-awareness and offers an opportunity for programme exploration.
Each of the core themes is supported by one and two-day participatory sessions, masterclasses, professional learning activities (available through the SCEL Framework) and a ‘palette’ of learning opportunities offering choice and flexibility of location.
- Masterclasses feature a range of keynote speakers (universities and others) and inputs including international practice and exchange. These sessions are scheduled on a regional basis to allow, where possible, equity of opportunity for head teachers across Scotland. Up to 100 participants can, on average, attend these sessions.
- Professional Learning Activities (PLAs) to supplement and contribute to the learning in individual sessions are available through the SCEL Framework for Educational Leadership. There is also a range of PLAs available independent of the programme.
- A ‘palette’ of learning opportunities designed to offer breadth of learning includes:
- opportunities for participants to meet to review, discuss and share good practice through appropriate case studies.
- opportunities to participate in international/knowledge exchange,
- opportunities to engage in a leadership exchange across public service in Scotland
- opportunities to participate in ‘learning from experience’ sessions which allow head teachers to share experience and knowledge across themes and sectors
- opportunities to take part in topic development groups to enable head teacher engagement in areas of current strategic interest which would include engagement with community education champions and online fora.
Following the induction residential, participants can choose from the range of learning themes designed to meet the needs of all head teachers. It is anticipated that participants would choose, in addition to the residential experience, a minimum of two additional professional learning opportunities during the academic year. Choice of learning opportunity should be linked to participants’ professional review and development (PRD) and professional update discussions. It is likely that learning will be within one or two themes in the first year – although there is no imposed limit to the level of engagement. Participants will normally attend the residential session before engaging in other opportunities.
The programme will evolve on an annual basis with the objective that it remains relevant throughout the professional career of a head teacher. The sections below give an indicative range of learning outcomes for each theme. These are designed to give you a guide as to what to expect under the headings of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values.
Application for the first cohort of the Excellence in Headship programme is now closed.