ASCL Cymru comment on review of the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers

Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, responds to the publication of the review of the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH).
We need a high-quality qualification for headteachers in Wales and it is clear that the NPQH is in need of significant reform to ensure it is fit for purpose. It is crucial that any changes that schools are required to implement must take into account the funding and recruitment pressures they are facing and come with appropriate support from the Welsh government. We understand the qualification will need to be challenging, but it must not be so onerous that it actively discourages potential leaders from applying and further precipitates the recruitment and retention crisis. It also needs to be realistic. It is inconceivable that a headteacher could afford to take a three-week sabbatical to allow a teacher undergoing the qualification to manage the school in their absence. Such a recommendation shows a lack of understanding of the challenges schools are facing. They cannot be expected to keep doing more and more with fewer resources. It is crucial that any changes to the NPQH are fully funded, to avoid putting further financial pressure on schools that they simply cannot afford, and that there is full consultation with the education sector on any of the recommendations accepted by the Welsh government.”