Into Headship
Into Headship

Please note that proposed arrangements for Into Headship have needed to be modified in light of Covid19.

The Into Headship programme has been designed to support individuals in their journey towards Headship and is the middle component of a Masters level qualification – the Specialist Qualification for Headship.

Courtesy of the SCEL website

This new national qualification, delivered by a range of partners – the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL), the university and local authorities – will become mandatory for new headteachers in 2019. The qualification, delivered over two modules, focuses upon the strategic leadership of a school and in developing in those undertaking it the skills, attributes, knowledge and understanding required to lead a school effectively. It is designed as a 60-credit postgraduate certificate qualification at SCQF 11 on successful completion of which participants will be awarded the Standard for Headship. The course is open to promoted staff who would have a reasonable expectation of obtaining a headship post within the next two to three years. Those interested in undertaking the course apply through their local authority with recruitment taking place in February – April.

Aims of the Course

To enable candidates to be able to:

  • develop and deepen the ability to critically reflect and enquire to enhance their strategic leadership practice
  • develop their strategic leadership and management skills in practice as specified by the Standard for Headship in Scotland
  • build and apply sound knowledge and understanding of strategic leadership and management practice and theory in the context of the role of head teacher
  • design and initiate a strategic change initiative which will strengthen the school’s capability for improvement to,
  • meet the Standard for Headship.

Delivery of the Course

The course is delivered through a combination of taught provision, collaborative learning, mentoring and group coaching (delivered by university staff). It is heavily practice-based and students are supported via a Participant Booklet with guided readings and tasks. The local authority plays a key role in facilitating the qualification and providing support to candidates. Candidates also undertake online modules and a 360 degree questionnaire, facilitated by SCEL.

Other Components of the Specialist Qualification for Headship

Middle Leadership

There is no general programme which applies across all universities. Each university has its own approach towards Middle Leadership but each course has been validated by SCEL. At the university of Strathclyde, Middle Leadership constitutes three modules set at SCQF level 11 which are drawn from the PgCert of the M Ed in Educational Leadership. These constitute:

• Conceptions of Leadership
• Leadership for Learning
• Leadership for Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice.

Candidates for Into Headship may apply for Accredited Prior Learning as an alternative to undertaking these modules if they have undertaken a SCEL validated Middle Leadership course at another Scottish University within the past five years.

Extended Induction/In Headship

In Headship is a Masters-level 60-credit postgraduate qualification at SCQF level 11 which is designed to follow on from Into Headship and be undertaken by candidates when they gain their first headship post. For more information about this qualification, please refer to the SCEL website.

Please note that SCEL is now incorporated within Education Scotland as the Professional Learning and Leadership Team. For the purposes of this webiste, the term SCEL will continue to be used.


Two of our students from cohort 2016 participated within a workshop at the SERA Conference, held at Craigie Campus, University of the West on the 22nd of November.

Alison McCloy and Barry Smedley, East Dunbartonshire, gave excellent poster presentations about the work which they undertook in Into Headship through the lens of research.