From August 2020, in Scotland, gaining the Into Headship Certificate became a requirement for an individual to become a headteacher. It has always been an ambition of mine, since returning to education, to become, at some point a headteacher. Towards that end, I applied to join the program in 2019 only to be told that I wasn’t really qualified as I was ‘only’ a class teacher. That the criteria for eligibility were, among other things, the expectation that your next post would be a headship. This was disappointing but understandable as this was a funded place and there are always eligibility criteria. However, I was offered a place in the Middle Leadership course, which I gladly accepted.
This was a master’s level course and one that I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a great deal from. On the strength of my performance, I was offered a place the following year, on the Into Headship course.
While I have plenty of leadership experience outwith education and some rudimentary schooling on leadership provided by a past employer, these courses delivered by the University of Aberdeen, provided me with a much more extensive understanding of leadership and how it applies to education. In particular, the knowledge gained around the practicalities of change; how to initiate and successfully deliver it, was fascinating and something that will, no doubt, be of use in the future.
While I enjoyed these courses tremendously, the into headship course, in particular, was demanding on my time and frankly, I am not sure how anyone in post finds the time to do it justice. So to all those deputes and headteachers out there who have completed the course, I salute you!
If you are thinking about either the Middle Leadership or Into Headship courses I can heartily recommend them. While they don’t and can’t teach you everything about leadership, by the end of the courses, I felt much better prepared to face the demands of leadership, be that as a principal teacher, depute or headteacher. It has given me an insight into what it takes to lead in education and the challenges leaders face. This means, that not only will I be able to lead successfully but also effectively support leaders who I end up working with.
My certificate arrived. This is something I am proud of and it’s been a while since I had a thought like that. However, I didn’t manage this alone. There were many people who helped with this journey. Tutors who advised and guided my writing, colleagues who assisted me, my headteacher and the deputes who supported me, as well as my wife and son who are always my biggest inspiration. Thank you to all.