Log In / Register

Towards Headship

This is an Education Scotland Leadership Programme.

Towards Headship supports the continuous professional learning of those already awarded the Standard for Headship and who are now considering a headteacher post as their next career step. Towards Headship provides a set of experiences in which participants will continue their professional learning in relation to the specific context of school leadership.

The programme prepares candidates for successful school leadership by:

  • critically engaging with the current and emerging international and national policy contexts
  • enhancing the application of strategic thinking, planning and leadership practice
  • supporting critical reflection on professional knowledge, understanding, inter-personal skills and abilities of leadership
  • developing a co-coaching network to provide challenge and support in critical reflection on strategic leadership practices
  • developing and reinforcing a knowledge of key aspects relating to school management.

Covid-19 update

In line with the advice and guidance from the Scottish and UK Governments, we have paused all professional learning and leadership activity, including this programme. We have prepared a set of FAQs which we hope will answer some of the questions you may have at this time. We will update these with additional information as we have it.

Read our FAQs for information on changes to our programmes as a result of Covid-19.

Programme structure

The programme will commence with participants undertaking an emotional and social competency inventory (ESCI) 360 tool. They will receive feedback from a trained ESCI facilitator which will, along with reflection on the Standard for Headship, inform the development of a personal professional learning profile.

The national cohort meets at three learning events, which are focused on:

  • critical self-reflection based on leadership traits and attributes
  • policy enactment within the current Scottish education policy context
  • strategic leadership to effect positive outcomes for young people.

Participants will also complete online learning modules on employment law, education law, health and safety and managing finance.  These online modules are self-directed and access will be provided from the beginning of the programme and will require to be completed before the conclusion of the programme.

What are the benefits?

The programme is a developmental programme which supports participants to enhance their confidence and skills as strategic leaders.

Who is it for?

The Towards Headship programme is open to those who have successfully gained the Standard for Headship and are likely to take up a headteacher post as their next career step.

Duration and key dates

The programme commences in the autumn term, runs for 6-12 months and involves three contact events (including one overnight residential).

How is the programme delivered?

Participants will come together for three contact sessions to build their knowledge of strategic leadership, engage with relevant literature and research and develop peer coaching networks to reflect upon implications for their practice. One of these contact sessions will take the form of a residential experience running from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. 

Participants will also complete online learning modules throughout the programme.

Funding and costs

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 for the programme and further information

Applications for the 2020/2021 programme are now closed.

Towards Headship 2021/2022

If you would like to apply for the 2021/2022 cohort, you should first discuss your application with your line manager and/or employer. You should then complete the Towards Headship application form, and ensure that it is appropriately endorsed.

For local authority employees, the application process is managed by the local authority co-ordinator and completed forms should be returned to them. Applicants should confirm submission deadlines with their local authority co-ordinator.

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

More information is also available in this FAQ document:

Towards Headship FAQs – January 2020