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New Headteacher Standards 2020 for England

On 13 October 2020 the Headteacher Standards were updated by the DfE for schools in England. The DfE website clearly states the standards are for:

  • headteachers
  • governing boards
  • people planning to become headteachers

However it is not as simple as that as the they will need to be interpreted for context and type of school. They are applicable for headteachers in maintained schools, academies and independent schools. Equally they can be used for the development and evaluation of heads of school, and other aspiring leaders including deputies and assistant heads.

They are drafted to show how headteachers can meet both the additional responsibilities of headship and the requirements of the teachers’ standards. These standards replace the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers 2015 and they are non-statutory.

The standards can be used to:

  • shape headteachers’ own practice and professional development, within and beyond the school
  • support the recruitment and appointment of headteachers, including the development of job descriptions and person specifications
  • underpin frameworks for the training of school leaders, including current and aspiring headteachers
  • inform the performance management of headteachers

Relationship to the Teachers’ Standards

The teachers’ standards including the personal and professional code of conduct which applies to teachers, provide a foundation upon which the standards for headteachers are built. Headteachers, like other teachers, are expected to meet the teachers’ standards.

The first section of the headteachers’ standards outlines the ethics and professional conduct expected of headteachers. This is developed from part 2 of the teachers’ standards. As such, they consist of statements that define the behaviour and attitudes which should be expected of headteachers.

The second section sets out 10 headteachers’ standards. The first 6 standards build on the teachers’ standards, whereas the other 4 standards focus on leadership responsibilities specific to headteachers.

There is no hierarchy to the standards:

  1. School culture (builds on teachers’ standard 1)
  2. Teaching (builds on teachers’ standards 2 and 4)
  3. Curriculum and assessment (builds on teachers’ standards 3 and 6)
  4. Behaviour (builds on teachers’ standard 7)
  5. Additional and special educational needs (builds on teachers’ standard 5)
  6. Professional development (some match to teachers’ standard 4)
  7. Organisational management
  8. School improvement
  9. Working in partnership
  10. Governance and accountability

A full copy of the Headteachers’ Standards 2020 can be found here.

For Schools provides a full Headteacher Recruitment Service – please contact for further details.

For Schools, through its Lessons Learned software, also provides a full performance management process and enables teachers to self-assess or to be assessed against both the Teachers’ Standards and the new Headteachers’ Standards 2020 using a graphically-rich radar chart format. To find out more, please visit:

New head teacher standards 2020 diagram from Lessons Learned

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