State school heads will not have to be qualified teachers

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The Independent Online

State school heads will no longer have to be qualified teachers under controversial proposals by the Government.

State school heads will no longer have to be qualified teachers under controversial proposals by the Government.

Ministers believe allowing new heads to be appointed without teaching certificates would encourage people from a wide range of backgrounds including business and administration to run schools. The plan has been put to union leaders by David Miliband, the minister for School Standards, during talks on modernising the teaching profession.

The idea is to give individual school governing bodies the opportunity to allow their heads to operate more in the style of a company chief executive than a school headteacher. Teachers' union leaders have already expressed opposition.

A source at the Department for Education and Skills stressed there would be no compulsion for schools to go down this route. "It is giving schools extra flexibility," the source added.

The proposal has already sparked opposition from union leaders, who believe it is essential that a headteacher should have a background in the teaching side of the school. If they do not, they argue, the head will be unable to get to grips with the best ways of raising standards.

The model has been used in some independent schools such as Cranleigh in Surrey – where a top former Treasury civil servant, Tony Hart, was headmaster for several years – and Malvern Girls School, which appointed a businesswoman.

Education sources believe new-style chief executives would be well placed to run the "cluster" schools proposed by Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education – groups of up to six schools merged under a single governing body and head.

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