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School Development Service

Leadership and Management


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Are you ready for Headship?

If you are considering applying for PQH (NI), we strongly recommend that you explore these resources and spend time discussing your readiness with your headteacher or line manager (for those not in a school setting).

Archived National College Resources - These resources are availble to help you prepare for your application.

National Standards for Headteachers (Northern Ireland)

PQH (NI) is underpinned by the National Standard for Headteachers (NI Edition). These standards are divided into six key areas which, when taken together, represent the role of the principal. Within each key area, knowledge requirements, professional qualities and actions are identified. The PQH (NI) application process and assessment framework are based on the Standards, so it is essential that you familiarise yourself with them.

  • Download - the National Standards for Headteachers (NI)

Discussion with your principal or line manager

If you are considering applying for PQH (NI), we strongly recommend that you discuss your intentions with your principal or line manager, as these individuals, apart from having a vital role to play in supporting your leadership development should you be accepted unto the programme; will also be asked to contribute to and verify your application form. It is not possible for applicants to complete the PQH (NI) programme, and gain the experience that they need without their principal or line manager's support.

Current Role

Does your current role/experience in the school demonstrate that you are 12-18 months from headship?

You should note that a key requirement in completing the Application Form is that the applicant should have been leading something of strategic importance for the school /organisation as a whole, with accountability to the senior leadership team or directly to the principal, and with a requirement to engage with stakeholders across the organisation.

What if I'm not ready?

If you feel you are still some distance from headship but wish for further professional development in leadership, you should follow the link below taking you to our Emergent Leader programmes:

Succession into leadership

Each section contains a number of hyperlinked items which can be accessed directly.

(i) Key documents


(ii) Audio and video

(iii) Interactive guides

(iv) Case studies

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