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Excellence in Headship

This is an Education Scotland leadership programme.

The Excellence in Headship programme supports headteachers - who have been in post for two years or more - to strengthen and expand their school and system leadership skills, with a strong focus on delivering excellence and equity for all children and young people.

 

Programme structure

The Excellence in Headship programme provides an annual calendar of professional learning opportunities for leadership in a range of formats, which include: opportunities for collaborative learning, cross-system learning, coaching and mentoring, network development, issue exploration, international research and engagement with online learning.  It is designed to provide sufficient flexibility to enable you to engage in several key areas over an academic session.

Excellence in Headship has six core themes. The programme begins with a residential induction session on leadership and critical self-awareness (Theme 1). As a participant, you will join up to 40 other colleagues from across Scotland and engage in learning with a focus on building collaborative networks and increasing leadership self-awareness.

Following the induction, you will choose from a range of professional learning opportunities within the five remaining Excellence in Headship themes. Your choice of learning opportunity should be linked to your professional review and development (PRD) and professional update discussions. There is no imposed limit to the number of sessions you can attend, however we would anticipate that you select a minimum of two.

The programme evolves on an annual basis with the objective that it remains relevant throughout the professional career of a headteacher.

Excellence in Headship is structured around a range of core themes:

  • Theme 1 - Leadership and critical self-awareness (programme induction)
  • Theme 2 - Leadership of learning
  • Theme 3 - Values based leadership (Columba 1400)
  • Theme 4 - People and partners
  • Theme 5 - Leading systems change
  • Theme 6 - Organisational effectiveness.
What are the benefits?

The Excellence in Headship (EiH) programme provides a range of benefits including:

  • engage in an induction residential as new entrants onto the programme with fellow headteachers, and work collaboratively to develop better understanding through a community of practice
  • select from a choice of over 50 EiH professional learning sessions designed to support your ongoing learning across a range of areas related to headship
  • access a range of online resources that support professional learning and leadership for headteachers
  • use the professional learning gained from the programme as a basis for productive Professional Review and Development (PRD) and Professional Update discussion.
Who is it for?

Excellence in Headship supports headteachers who have been in post for two years or more.

Duration

There is no fixed duration period for the programme. Following completion of the Theme 1 induction, which is a two-day residential, headteachers choose EiH Learn professional learning opportunities from the remaining five themes, on an annual basis. The professional learning opportunities vary from half-day sessions through to sessions with up to three days of professional learning.

It is anticipated that participants' decisions on choice of themes will be shaped by their identified professional review and development priorities and the programme will evolve on an annual basis to meet these needs and keep headteachers up-to-date with current professional research, policy and practice.

Costs and funding

As the Professional Learning and Leadership Team is currently funded to develop a suite of programmes, participation in the programme is free of charge, however there is no funding for cover. A small fund for travel expenses is available only for participants from Eilean Siar, Shetland and Orkney.

Applying and further information

Applications for Excellence in Headship 2019/20 are now open. Dates for residential inductions can be found in our events section.

Please apply via your local authority leadership and professional learning lead.

For further information about this programme, or for an informal discussion with a Lead Specialist, contact us at edspll@educationscotland.gov.scot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time should I commit to the programme?

The core time commitment for Excellence in Headship will vary depending on your professional learning opportunity choices.

Each participant is required to engage with Theme 1 – critical self-awareness – which is a two-day participatory residential programme held in a variety of locations around the country.

Following the Theme 1 induction, you choose from a range of professional learning opportunities within the five remaining Excellence in Headship themes. These opportunities vary in time, ranging from half-day sessions, to five-day residential sessions.

The professional learning opportunities can be viewed in our events section.

Is there a qualification for completion of the programme?

Excellence in Headship is designed to support and facilitate experiential learning and is not mapped to a particular level of the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework. There is no formal qualification awarded for engaging in the programme.

It will continually evolve and be available on an annual basis, based on sector priorities and feedback from participant headteachers. Some learning within the themes may be mapped to a particular SCQF level and when this is the case, it will be publicised as appropriate.

I’ve been informed by my employer that I have secured a place on the programme, what happens next?

Education Scotland is responsible for the administration and management of Excellence in Headship. Once you have completed the application form and your place is endorsed by your employer, you will be directed to information about the theme one induction and provided with details on next steps by the Education Scotland team.

I have been a headteacher for one year. Can I apply for this programme?

The In Headship programme is designed for new headteachers within their first two years of headship, and this programme is likely to be more appropriate at this stage of your professional career.

How will my learning be evaluated?

Evaluation activities are built into the programme and you are encouraged to complete these. It is important that we receive evaluations to help us continually improve all aspects of the programme. You will also be encouraged to create and maintain a learning plan linked to your work on professional update.

Theme 1: Leadership and critical self-awareness

Overview

Excellence in Headship begins with Theme 1 – critical self-awareness – which is a two-day residential induction. This theme is at the heart of the programme and is delivered through a combination of discussion, collaboration and specialist input. The residential is designed to be intensive, challenging, stimulating and enjoyable.

Focused on leadership and critical self-awareness, the induction provides you with space and time to consider your own leadership practice as well as the opportunity to network and share your learning with up to 40 fellow participants from across Scotland.

Learning outcomes

Following the residential, it is anticipated that you will build on your experience to:

Knowledge

  • critically review appropriate research and literature to support current and future practice
  • appraise the effectiveness of leadership practice in the light of the principles of excellence and equity
  • identify and critically appraise the role and contribution of a headteacher within policy contexts at national, regional and local level
  • recognise and evaluate a range of leadership qualities, dispositions and attitudes which have a positive impact in a range of different organisational environments.

Skills

  • demonstrate increased awareness of self in a professional role and apply self-audit activities to better lead an establishment
  • develop the capacity to network effectively in a peer-collaborative environment
  • apply collaborative enquiry skills to systematically address ‘wicked’ issues.

Attitudes and values

  • have an enhanced commitment to the principles of excellence and equity in learning communities
  • recognise the importance of leadership development and collaborative practice and seeks ways to foster these within the school community and across the system.

What can I expect from the two days?

The two-day residential will be delivered through a combination of discussion, collaboration and specialist input to address the indicative outcomes related to Theme 1. Learning across these outcomes will also form part of ongoing reflection over the full programme. A vital element of the two-day induction residential is the use of collaborative learning processes to build knowledge and consider their use in practice. There are networking opportunities throughout the residential event to enable you to grow your network with colleagues within your local authority and with colleagues from across Scotland. The programme for the two days is intensive and designed to be challenging, stimulating and enjoyable.

Is my accommodation paid for?

As part of the two-day residential induction event one night’s overnight stay at the hotel will be provided.

Can I stay another night?

We understand that due to travelling and other arrangements it may be necessary to stay an additional night. If you need to book an additional night, either before or after the residential event, you must take responsibility for arranging this directly with the hotel. Whilst this will not be covered by Education Scotland although there may be times when we are able to arrange a special rate for you.

When do I check in and can my luggage be stored?

When you arrive at the hotel, there will be a secure room to store your luggage. We have organised group check-in to take place during the afternoon break – at this point all room keys will be issued. If additional accommodation or extras have been booked it will be necessary to present a credit card at reception.

What is covered by Education Scotland?

The residential event includes one night’s accommodation and breakfast on the following morning. Lunch will be provided on both days and an evening meal will be provided on day one. Travel costs such as train tickets or taxis to the venue will not be covered. Alcoholic drinks in the evening will also not be covered.

What do I need to do in advance of the event?

The programme outlines an activity on day one which focuses on understanding research and literature and considers its impact on leadership practice. Prior to the residential induction, you should be prepared to share an article, journal or book based on research which influenced your leadership practice and thinking. We will ask you to share your thoughts on the article of your choice with a small group of colleagues as part of this activity. Learning activities to supplement and contribute to your engagement with Theme 1 are also available through the Framework for Professional Learning and Leadership.

Before attending the residential we would encourage you to register on our website using your work or Glow email address. You may also wish to engage with ‘Self-evaluation for school and system improvement’ which will support you in identifying strengths and areas for development which you may choose to focus on later in the programme.

Is there a dress code for the event?

The recommended dress code for the residential induction event is smart-casual. Where possible there will be access to outdoor space, therefore we would ask that you bring along outdoor shoes, jackets and warm clothing to prepare for the Scottish weather!

Theme 2: Leadership of learning

Learning outcomes

In this theme, you will have the opportunity to further enhance your role as a lead learner through a clear focus on pedagogical leadership.

Following engagement with the sessions, you will build on your experience to:

Knowledge

  • analyse and critically review the contribution of strategic leadership in ensuring current curricular policy initiatives are embedded within the school and system. Examples include:
    • literacy and numeracy
    • science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
    • developing Scotland’s young workforce
    • digital learning strategy
  • identify the strategic role and function of the health and wellbeing indicators (GIRFEC) and deploy these in effecting school improvement
  • propose and appraise whole school strategies to ensure coherence in the learning experiences for pupils’ progression and pathways as they move across key points of transition – notably on how to lead at each stage of the broad general education (BGE) and into the senior phase
  • describe and evaluate the principles of effective pedagogy to strengthen the strategic role of headteachers as leaders of learning.

Skills

  • create strategy to initiate and review innovation and leadership of curriculum design
  • effectively utilise data literacy to support effective learning and teaching
  • formulate and appraise strategies for self-evaluation at school/system level to support the outcomes of excellence, equity and social justice
  • utilise systematically the parents/carers’ voice in leading effective learning and teaching.

Attitudes and values

  • recognise and foster the role that parents and learners have in improving the learning community of the school
  • critically appraise the principles underpinning current curricular programmes and foster ways of ensuring excellence and equity for all.

Create your individualised learning pathway

Following the Theme 1 induction, you will choose from a range of professional learning opportunities within the five remaining Excellence in Headship themes. Your choice of learning opportunity should be linked to your professional review and development (PRD) and professional update discussions. There is no imposed limit to the number of sessions you can attend, however we would anticipate that you select a minimum of two.

Theme 2 events can be found in our events section.

Online learning

Learning activities to supplement and contribute to your engagement with Theme 2 are available through the Framework:

Theme 3: Values based leadership (Columba 1400)

Learning outcomes

In this theme, you will have the opportunity to participate in the Head Teachers’ Leadership Academy led by Columba 1400.

The Head Teachers’ Leadership Academy will support you to focus on the cultures you create through an understanding of core values, in order to make a real lasting difference for yourself, your young people, your staff and the community you serve.

Following engagement with the sessions, you will build on your experience to:

Knowledge

  • increase awareness of self as a leader of change
  • reflect upon and create a unique vision and leadership presence for the school with the refinement and encouragement of committed peers.

Skills

  • use leadership responsibility to shape the internal structure and external identity of the school
  • identify and evaluate sources of complication, obstruction and resistance and develop strategies for success.

Attitudes and values

  • reaffirm a core vocation as an educator and role model for future generations
  • re-affirm commitment to a spirit of education that is never connected unless making an effective and measurable difference.

Create your individualised learning pathway

Following the Theme 1 induction, you will choose from a range of professional learning opportunities within the five remaining Excellence in Headship themes. Your choice of learning opportunity should be linked to your professional review and development (PRD) and professional update discussions. There is no imposed limit to the number of sessions you can attend, however we would anticipate that you select a minimum of two.

The Theme 3 Columba 1400 Head Teacher Leadership Academy for the academic session 2019/20 programme are taking place across Scotland on various dates.

The current professional learning opportunities for Theme 3 can be viewed below. (Please note bookings should be made through Columba 1400 direct.)

Theme 3 events can be found in our events section.

Online learning

Learning activities to supplement and contribute to your engagement with Theme 3 are available:

Implement a shared vision for improvement

Leading cultural change to effect improvement

Develop an inclusive approach to improvement planning

 

Theme 4: People and partners

Learning Outcomes

In this theme, you will have the opportunity to explore the significance of school culture and the role, purpose and benefits of collaborative working in leading school improvement.

‘People and partners’ has a range of masterclasses which focus on working with school-based teams, parents and partners to build capacity within, across, and beyond your establishment.

Following engagement with the sessions, you will build on your experience to:

Knowledge (internal to school)

  • explain the significance of the culture of the school when seeking improvements, and critically appraise their role in shaping this
  • analyse the relationship between ‘leadership’ and ‘followership’ and evaluate their strategic role in building the capability for change and improvement across the school
  • review critically a range of models for supporting systemic teacher professional collaboration and collegial working to effect school improvement.

Knowledge (external to school)

  • define and critically analyse the role, purpose and benefits of community partnership working
  • outline and evaluate the role and purpose of community/asset based models of delivery which focus on improving outcomes for children, young people and families (including an emphasis on the role of community champions)
  • understand and foster ways of effective multi-service/agency working to improve educational and health and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people
  • understand and utilise the most effective ways to support parents/carers play a full role as partners in learning with the school.

Skills (internal to school)

  • apply conflict resolution to effectively manage challenging situations
  • apply effective coaching techniques to improve staff performance and relationships
  • formulate and use a range of strategies to enhance teacher professional collaboration and collegiality to effect school improvement.

Skills (external to school)

  • identify and implement the opportunities offered by community planning partnerships (CPPs) to benefit the school community
  • use community based outcomes systematically to enhance the role of the school and community in achieving improvements in learning
  • identify and apply skills of effective partnership working with other agencies to support effective preventative work which benefits children, young people and families
  • identify and apply the most effective strategies to maximise the role of parents/carers as effective partners in improving attainment and equity for all children and young people.

Attitudes and values

  • recognise the importance of multi-agency and community partnership working and foster ways of building collaborative practice to improve outcomes for children and young people
  • ensure a commitment to community-based outcomes as central to the ethos of the school
  • ensure that parents/carers feel they are full partners in leading learning for their children and young people.

Create your individualised learning pathway

Following the Theme 1 induction, you will choose from a range of professional learning opportunities within the five remaining Excellence in Headship themes. Your choice of learning opportunity should be linked to your professional review and development (PRD) and professional update discussions. There is no imposed limit to the number of sessions you can attend, however we would anticipate that you select a minimum of two.

Theme 4 events can be found in our events section.

Online learning

Learning activities to supplement and contribute to your engagement with Theme 4 are available:

Multi-agency collaboration to improve health and wellbeing

Leading learning through professional partnerships

Theme 5: Leading systems change

Learning outcomes

‘Leading systems change’ focuses on the roles and responsibilities of headteachers within the current local, regional, national and international context, with a specific focus on their role as system leaders.

Following engagement with the sessions, you will build on your experience to:

Knowledge

  • critically evaluate different models of headship, nationally and internationally to learn from best practice and thus help prepare for the ongoing evolution of the role (with international knowledge exchange and links part of this learning outcome)
  • critically review ‘systems change’ methodology and its application to the school environment
  • describe and analyse educational decision making and policy development in Scotland to help influence how strategic priorities are shaped and evolve
  • critically appraise present models of succession planning and capacity building of leaders in the Scottish system and analyse strategies to build systemic capacity across schools in Scotland.

Skills

  • appraise the changing role of headteachers and formulate ways in which they can build best practice
  • critically engage in ‘systems based’ scenario planning to help anticipate and prepare for potential organisational, financial and cultural changes to schools
  • contribute to the building of strategies for succession planning and leadership capacity in individual schools and across the system.

Attitudes and values

  • appreciate and seek to enhance the role of a headteacher as a systems leader in building capacity across schools in Scotland.

Create your individualised learning pathway

Following the Theme 1 induction, you will choose from a range of professional learning opportunities within the five remaining Excellence in Headship themes. Your choice of learning opportunity should be linked to your professional review and development (PRD) and professional update discussions. There is no imposed limit to the number of sessions you can attend, however we would anticipate that you select a minimum of two.

Theme 5 events can be found in our events section.

Online learning

Learning activities to supplement and contribute to your engagement with Theme 5 are available:

Exploring system leadership

Supporting collaboration between schools

Theme 6: Organisational effectiveness

In this theme, you will explore best practice in the administration of key school management processes – in relation to staff, finance, risk and project management – to ensure the effective organisation of your establishment.

Following engagement with the sessions, you will build on your experience to:

Knowledge

  • demonstrate an understanding and application of employment law, discipline and grievance procedures, under the teachers’ terms and conditions as defined by the SNCT
  • demonstrate an understanding and application of school budget management processes at all levels (including Pupil Equity Funding)
  • demonstrate an understanding of effective management systems to utilise best practice in relation to the administration of key responsibilities including, inter alia, health and safety regulations, managing risk assessments and emergency response planning
  • demonstrate knowledge of effective project management systems and techniques to help ensure the smooth running of the school and release capacity for leading learning.

Skills

  • effectively utilise a budget to maximise pupil outcomes, including the use of virement opportunities, differentiation between capital and revenue resources and maximising economy of scale, taking cognisance, where appropriate, of pupil equity funding
  • critically review budget reports/returns and analyse corporate accounting procedures as they impact on school spend to report and plan effectively
  • critically apply best practice in the administration of key school management processes to improve the smooth running of the school to release leadership capacity which focuses on learning
  • critically apply an effective and tested project management approach to school priorities to monitor, evaluate and review school improvement priorities.

Attitudes and values

  • appreciate that effective management practices improve school efficiency and reduce staff stress
  • appreciate that effective management practices free teacher and senior leadership time to focus on learning and improving pupil outcomes.

Create your individualised learning pathway

Following the Theme 1 induction, you will choose from a range of professional learning opportunities within the five remaining Excellence in Headship themes.

Your choice of learning opportunity should be linked to your professional review and development (PRD) and professional update discussions. There is no imposed limit to the number of sessions you can attend, however we would anticipate that you select a minimum of two.

Theme 6 events can be found in our events section.

Online learning

Learning activities to supplement and contribute to your engagement with Theme 6 are available:

Self-evaluation for organisational improvement