All children’s directors to receive leadership training by 2012

Directors of children’s services from every council in England will undergo leadership training over the next three years.

A total of 144 places are being made available on the National College for School Leadership’s 12-month programme, ordered by ministers in the wake of the Baby P case.

The training will use real-life scenarios to develop decision-making and leadership in areas such as safeguarding, local partnerships and accountability.

More programmes on the way

A leadership development programme for managers aspiring to become directors is due to be launched in 2010, with 40 spaces each year. The NCSL is also proposing an executive leadership programme for the most experienced directors.

Applications are now being invited for the first cohort of 24 participants on the DCS leadership programme, starting this autumn, who will help to shape the course’s design and content.

Timetable set out

In future, intakes will be enlarged to 50 in 2010-11 and 70 in 2011-12, allowing all existing DCSs to complete the programme by 2012. After this point, the NCSL plans to host 30 participants each year to cover new appointments.

As previously announced, a “cadre” of 20 exprienced DCSs will be selected over the summer to mentor and support newly-appointed DCSs.

Minister’s pledge to strengthen leadership

Children’s secretary Ed Balls announced the programme to strengthen leadership of children’s services in England in December. This came days after the publication of a damning joint area review of safeguarding in Haringey, north London, where Baby P died in 2007, which identified multiple failings at senior level in Haringey children’s services.

The NCSL, which has proposed changing its name to the National College for School and Children’s Leadership to reflect its new remit, is developing the programme in partnership with the Children’s Workforce Development Council and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

ADCS: leadership a priority

Strengthening leadership among directors and their senior teams is one of four ADCS priorities for the coming year. New president Kim Bromley-Derry said: “The partnership with the NCSL is vital to support the capacity of children’s services.”

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