First women-only headship qualification launched.

Tes reports that a female-only headship qualification has been launched with the goal of tackling the “chronic underrepresentation” of women at headteacher level.

The programme, which the organisers say is the first of its kind in the country, is aimed at supporting women who feel excluded by local headteacher meetings that “feel like boys’ clubs”.

The national professional qualification for headship (NPQH) has been developed by the Leading Women’s Alliance, WomenEd and Ambition School Leadership. The deadline for applications is 21 January and the first cohort begins training in March.

Kate Chhatwal, co-founder of the Leading Women’s Alliance and executive director of Southwark Teaching School Alliance, said the organisers “jumped at the chance” of providing a women-only course when the Department for Education invited providers to propose programmes tailored to particular groups.

“The need for affirmative action is evident in the chronic underrepresentation of women in headship when compared to the teaching population as a whole,” Dr Chhatwal said.

The new NPQH will cover the same material as the Ambition School Leadership headship programme. However, Dr Chhatwal said it would “be led and undertaken by the diverse female role models aspiring women leaders consistently tell us they need, with emphasis shifted to focus on those issues that matter most to the women in the room”.

She added: “Aspiring female heads want a space where they can explore how to build and leverage networks in the many areas of the country where headteacher meetings feel like boys’ clubs.”

Read more First women-only headship qualification launched.

A good idea or will it alienate women headteachers further? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Leadership.


  1. I want my children to have headteachers who are in their position due to merit, not their ‘gender’. I would despise any woman who applies for this. Maybe women don’t want to be headteachers because they know in their hearts that it would make it even more disruptive to the pupils when they go on maternity leave/stay at home to care for a sick child. I would like to see more men headteachers, with women ones reserved for girls’ schools.

  2. Busy Mum … what you say contradicts itself.. I do hope you pass different messages on to your children…
    Sadly many women don’t apply as many governing bodies are made up of men who have this strange notion that you ned to be a ‘man’ to lead a school – particularly in secondary sector…

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