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School Development Service

Leadership and Management


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The Application Process

Who can apply for PQH (NI)?

Qualified teachers who have successfully completed their EPD and are on the final pathway to their first headship. Applicants should be highly motivated to headship, and be ready to apply for principal posts on graduation. In other words, when you apply for PQH (NI):

  • You should be no more than 12 - 18 months from a headship post, and
  • Your aspiration for your next post should be that of principal.

In effect you will become a ‘trainee headteacher'.

If you are already working in a school leadership role as part of your ongoing performance management, you will be discussing your career aspirations with your current principal or line manager. Whatever your circumstances, seeking feedback from others and reviewing evidence associated with your performance management will help you think about your achievements, strengths and areas for development in relation to the National Standards for Headteachers (Northern Ireland edition).

A successful applicant not employed in a school needs to be able to identify a school in which to conduct activities required within PQH (NI).

As well as taking advice you should undertake the self-evaluation exercises available in the section entitled Are you ready for Headship?’.

PQH (NI) will ensure that those candidates who achieve the qualification are thoroughly prepared for the demanding role of headship. Employers will know that those holding the qualification have met the standards required to embark upon headship. It will give aspiring heads the confidence, skills and professional knowledge needed to deliver the best for pupils, staff, parents, governors and community.

You should be aware that from Cohort 14, both the applicant and their Principal/Line Manager jointly complete the Application Form.

Before you apply:

  • Visit the Are you ready for Headship? section
  • Read the National Standards for Headteachers (Northern Ireland edition)
  • Learn more about the challenges of headship today
  • Talk to your principal or line manager about your aspirations and obtain their support
  • Make your Principal/Line Manager aware that they must complete and submit your Application Form for the purposes of verification and support
  • Engage with online activities and resources to help you gauge your readiness to apply
  • Attend one of the Information sessions
  • Download the Application Pack from the 'Make an Online Application' section

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