Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Prospective Leaders Need Their Heads Examined: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Prospective Leaders Need Their Heads Examined: Opinion

Article excerpt

The revised NPQH will employ psychometric testing.

They are normally associated with recruitment to blue-chip companies such as international banks. But now psychometric tests will be used to judge who is best suited to take on school leadership, TES has learned.

The introduction of the personality tests is part of a complete overhaul of the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), which the government hopes will make it even tougher to climb teaching's professional ladder.

There will be 1,300 places a year to study the reformed qualification, now voluntary - 400 fewer places than previously. Those responsible for the changes say this will be part of a process of "raising the bar".

The psychometric tests are being introduced to the NPQH application process to help judge who will be "highly effective" school leaders - an idea that has received a mixed reception from those already in the role of headteacher.

Maggie Farrar, executive director for leadership development at the National College for School Leadership, said the adoption of the tests was down to education secretary Michael Gove demanding that the NPQH become more like an MBA. As such, Ms Farrar's team is now undertaking trials of different tests.

"We want to draw on the type of psychometric test expected with any senior position. Michael Gove wanted the NPQH to be on a par with the best MBAs, so we looked at how people were assessed to get on those programmes," she said.

"The course is now non-mandatory. We are using this as a deliberate opportunity to champion and improve the quality of those going on to headship. We are hoping more people will eventually get over this bar."

The test will be taken by candidates online, after they have applied for a place on the course. They will also have to attend a one-day "assessment centre" with staff from the National College. Assessors will then speak to the applicant's headteacher or sponsor for 30 minutes on the telephone.

Psychologist Barry Cripps, who has administered personality tests to teachers, said that the test "should not be used on its own" to select candidates. However, he was positive about it being used as part of a broader assessment. …

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