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International placements for headteachers 2007/2008

Please note that the International Placements for Headteachers Programme is currently being redesigned and no further applications can be accepted for the 2007/2008 programme.

Details of the new programme will be available on the National College for School Leadership website (www.ncsl.org.uk) early in 2008 and applications for the new programme will open in summer 2008.    

Potential applicants can register their interest in the new programme and request updates at any time by emailing iph@ncsl.org.uk.  

Queries about the current programme – for visits taking place up to the end of March 2008 - should be addressed to leadershipteam@britishcouncil.org.


International Placements for Headteachers is an initiative developed in partnership between the British Council and the National College for School Leadership. The programme is funded by the National College for School Leadership.

The programme has been in operation for the last five years and, in that time, nearly 2000 headteachers from primary, secondary and special schools in England have been placed on international study visits.   The programme reflects our commitment to developing world class leadership and global citizenship in schools.

Why do a study visit?
The philosophy behind the programme is that headteachers have the opportunity to examine and reflect upon their leadership, values and practice in the light of that of other principals worldwide. We hope that all involved will gain from the programme and that living and working in another culture will give headteachers fresh insights into their own culture and a broader educational perspective. The opportunity to discuss, share and reflect on practices cannot be underestimated. This is a life enhancing experience. 'The best piece of professional development I have ever had'.

Whilst there will be significant personal benefits for the participants in these visits, we are particularly keen to ensure they will also have a positive influence on their schools as learning organisations. We will therefore be evaluating the institutional advantages of the programme and how it influences school leadership and pupil achievement and opportunities.

What's involved in a study visit?
Each placement consists of a group of at least ten serving headteachers.  Each group will be accompanied by an experienced headteacher appointed by the British Council who acts as a facilitator for the group.  Whilst on the study visit, headteachers will have the opportunity to 'shadow' a host headteacher and to engage in professional dialogue about their experiences.

Please note that although participants may express preferences, it is not possible to pre-select a specific location or host organisation for the study visit. It can be difficult to place applicants in study visit groups if they have requests that are highly specific.

Who can apply?
Applicants must be serving headteachers with a minimum of three years' experience as a headteacher before they can be offered a placement, but it is possible to make an application in the third year. Headteachers will only be able to take part in the programme once as a participant.

Can groups of headteachers apply?
Headteachers who are intending to apply as a pre-existing group must read the Guidelines for Group Applications (MS Word 117KB) in conjunction with the general information on the programme.  Please note that it is not possible to include in a group headteachers who do not meet the eligibility criteria for the programme or who have already participated in the programme.

Where will the study visits take place?
Visits have taken place to over 30 countries to date, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Cuba,  Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Estonia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Taipei, Thailand and the United States. It is anticipated that additional countries will host groups next year.

What do the visits focus on?
Although the main focus of all visits is leadership, parallel themes are also explored.  The main themes for 2007/08 are:

14 – 19 curriculum
extended schools
succession planning
Every Child Matters and community leadership
leading schools in the 21st century

On their application form applicants should state their own preferred theme from the list above.  Individual applicants and groups may put forward an alternative theme for their study visit with an explanation for the particular relevance of their choice.

Visits follow a similar pattern regardless of destination, with short haul placements (mainly within Europe) taking place over six days to include the working week. Long haul visits will generally last for ten days, seven of which will be focused on the programme. Host organisations are fully briefed about the nature of the placements. Common format reports will be produced at the end of the visit with structured impact evaluation points occurring during the year following the placement.

The facilitator will work with the group prior to the visit and arrange a meeting to clarify aims and expectations.  There will also be a post visit meeting within 3 months of the visit to work on the group’s evaluation report and dissemination of the group’s findings.

2007/08 Programme Schedule
In 2007/08 study visits will take place between the beginning of April 2007 and the end of March 2008. Individual and group applications can be sent in at any time and will be acknowledged on receipt. Headteachers will then be contacted again once we are able to offer a placement which is relevant to their interests.

As much notice as possible will be given of the dates for proposed visits but applicants may find it helpful to know that most visits take place in January and February, March and October and November and December with a small number in April and May. Visits will take place during term and half-terms.

There are 300 placements available for 2007/2008 and it may not be possible to offer all applicants a suitable placement. Where this is the case, applicants will be informed and may be invited to carry their application over to the following year. It will not be necessary to complete another application form although applicants may wish to update their information.

How do I apply?
If you are interested in applying for a placement, please complete and sign the application form, then send it to the following address.

International Placements for Headteachers Programme
Contracts and Projects, Education, Science & Society
British Council
10 Spring Gardens
London SW1A 2BN

Download application form (MS Word document, 166 KB)

Completing the application form
The application form is a Word document. The forms are protected so you can only fill in the text boxes. Use your tab key or mouse to move from one text box to the next.

Who can I contact for more information?
Further information is available from the TIPD/IPH team on 0207 389 4415 or e-mail leadershipteam@britishcouncil.org.

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