I appeared on Radio 5 Live
yesterday talking about this issue because Julie White-Zamler is about to qualify as a headteacher but has no classroom experience. She told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's not correct to say a non-teacher can't learn."
I argued that the best headteachers were also experienced teachers who understood, from first-hand experience, what goes on in the classroom. The presenter put White-Zamler on the spot and asked her what she would do if a pupil told her to "eff off"; White-Zamler talked about disciplining the child in an appropriate fashion. She clearly knows what she's talking about because she's done a NPQH, a National Professional Qualification for Headship
. But is this enough? In my experience, the younger headteachers in the profession, who've often been fast-tracked to headship, tend to be quite bureaucratic and obsessed with "making their mark" -- instituting loads of changes -- but not really concentrating on the nitty-gritty of helping teachers get better at their job. I am not sure that a headteacher with very little experience of teaching is taken that seriously by the teachers in their schools.