§ Mr. David Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps his Department has taken to support and train headteachers. 
§ Ms Estelle Morris
The contribution of the head is pivotal in leading schools to excellence and we are committed to helping all headteachers to develop the skills and knowledge they need. We are investing £100 million over the next three years to ensure heads have access to high quality, practical and professional training at every stage of their careers. As set out in the Green Paper, "teachers: meeting the challenge of change", we will build on the existing headship training programmes to develop a new national framework of training and development opportunities. Already, some 400 teachers have achieved the National Professional Qualification for Headship and some 6,000 are now in training. We are developing further the NPQH to build on the strengths of the qualification before making it a mandatory requirement for all those coming new to headship. The Green Paper also set out our intention to establish a National College for School Leadership. On 2 June we published our prospectus for the college, which will be a driving force for world-class leadership in schools, providing professional support for heads through cutting-edge training and development opportunities. Responsibility for designing and overseeing the existing headship programmes will move to the national college when it is established in 2000.