Headteacher preparation programmes in England and Scotland: Do they make a difference for the first-year head?

Michael Cowie, Megan Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on part of the data from the International Study of Principal Preparation (ISPP) introduced in our previous article in School Leadership and Management. The purpose of the study is to consider the relationship between preparation for headship and the leadership and management practice of novice headteachers. In this article we take a narrative methodological approach and consider the experiences of a small group of relatively new primary school heads in England and in Scotland. The narratives suggest that preparation for headship helped to develop their professional identity, to broaden their outlook and to develop their confidence and self-belief. However, our analysis raises questions about how headship is conceptualised, the purpose of preparation programmes and the extent to which headteachers are free to act in principled and innovative ways, and about who is responsible for the design, development, delivery and accreditation of preparation programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalSchool Leadership and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Headteacher preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Education

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