The Into Headship Qualification

Into Headship is Scotland’s national qualification for headship. It has been designed in consultation with universities, local authorities, Education Scotland, GTCS and SCEL and focusses on the specificity of headship and the strategic role of head teachers. The programme is delivered in partnership between universities, local authorities and SCEL and includes a 60-credit postgraduate certificate qualification at SCQF level 11 which can form part of a Masters leadership pathway.

On successful completion of Into Headship participants are also awarded the Standard for Headship, which will become a pre-requisite for all new head teachers in Scotland from 2019. The previous qualifications of the Scottish Qualification for Headship (SQH) and the Flexible Route to Headship (FRH) are no longer available. Teachers who have successfully completed SQH or FRH continue to hold the standard for headship.

Into Headship qualification aims

Into Headship aims to ensure aspirant head teachers are supported to develop and continue to build the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding required of senior leaders. The qualification is aimed at those teachers whose next post will be that of a head teacher, likely to be within two to three years.

It aims to enable candidates to:

  • develop and deepen the ability to critically reflect and enquire to enhance their strategic leadership practice
  • develop their strategic leadership and management skills in practice as specified by the Standard for Headship in Scotland
  • build and apply sound knowledge and understanding of strategic leadership and management practice and theory in the context of the role of head teacher
  • design and initiate a strategic change initiative which will strengthen the school’s capability for improvement to,
  • meet the Standard for Headship.

How Into Headship is delivered

The qualification has a two-course structure and combines a number of delivery approaches to enable access across Scotland.  These include:

  • Practice-based learning: the qualification seeks to foster a strong link between the principles of strategic leadership and practice in schools and so a major focus is the practice-based element where participants identify an issue or problem facing their school and build a strategic change process to address this
  • Taught elements: through face to face delivery, or through digitally-mediated taught sessions where the focus is on developing knowledge and critical analysis and on building social and collaborative learning
  • Directed study: with set reading, online study tasks, reflective activities and short school-based tasks involving exploring practice
  • Social cohort learning: collaborative tasks through workshops on taught elements and online, particularly through the use of forums. Collaborative learning and the building of networks are an important element in the development of aspiring and newly appointed head teachers
  • Experiential pedagogies: an important outcome of this qualification is the building of leadership capacity and capability. The evaluation and review of the previous national qualifications highlighted the potency of mentoring and coaching methodologies in leadership development, both for aspirant head teachers and for their role in building leadership capability in their school. Set tasks in the taught elements and directed study components build opportunities for peer coaching and mentoring
  • Support from many sources including, Head teacher Mentor, LA/Independent School Co-ordinator and Field Assessor as well as SCEL.

The launch conference for cohort 4 of the Into Headship programme will take place on Wednesday 12 September 2018, venue and programme for the day will be confirmed in due course. The midway conference for cohort 4 will take place on Wednesday 13 March 2019, venue and programme for the day will be confirmed in due course.

Into Headship – Head teacher mentor specification
Into Headship – Local authority mentor specification
Into Headship – Professional verifier specification

Equality Impact Assessment

As part of the design and development of Into Headship, an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) was undertaken to support continuous improvement and quality assurance and to provide a framework for the mainstreaming of equality into all aspects of the development, delivery, monitoring and review of the programme. The report sets out a strategic EIA up to the point of accreditation by the GTCS and publication of access and application information.

Impact Assessment Report – July 2015

Next steps in developing the Masters pathway

Working with University partners, we have now developed the Middle Leadership aspect of the Masters pathway for the Specialist Qualification In Headship. This will be available from 2016 onwards and awards a Post Graduate Certificate (60 credits at SCQF level 11).  Those who attain the Middle Leadership certificate and go on to achieve Into Headship will be awarded a Post Graduate Diploma (120 credits at SCQF level 11).

The third part of the Masters Pathway, In Headship is now also available. This qualification is for those who have recently undertaken their first post as head teacher. Those who achieve all three aspects will be awarded a Masters degree subject to awarding body regulations.

SCEL 08 - Masters Pathway LHE040316

The Design Group now includes:

  • Ann Pearson – Clackmannanshire Council
  • Margery McMahon – University of Glasgow
  • Deirdre Torrance – University of Edinburgh
  • Neil McLennan – University of Aberdeen
  • Valerie Drew – University of Stirling
  • Joan Mowat – University of Strathclyde
  • Margaret Tracey – South Lanarkshire Council
  • Alison Allan – North Ayrshire Council
  • Jim Scott – University of Dundee
  • Rhona Jay – Falkirk Council
  • Jackie Purdie – Glasgow City Council
  • Morag Redford – University Highlands and Islands
  • Lesley Whelan – SCEL

Access Into Headship modules

Participants can log in, complete modules and track progress via the Into Headship portal.