Independent Schools’ Qualification in Academic Management (ISQAM)

Ideally suited to department heads, aspiring department heads and other middle managers within three years’ of appointment, the Independent Schools’ Qualification in Management gives you key practical skills to help you perform your role and to improve standards of learning and teaching with your department. ISQAM aims to establish best practice within the sector and become the recognised middle management qualification accepted by all independent schools.

Those beginning the ISQAM programme in 2021 will benefit from an improved programme model whereby Level 2 portfolios may optionally be submitted for IoE assessment for Masters level credits.

More information about the ISQAM programme can be found in this briefing document.

ISQAM – Level 1

Level 1 provides an introduction to some of the key skills required by middle managers, and covers the following areas:

  • Effective lesson observation and feedback
  • Coaching approaches and challenging conversations
  • Establishing standards in student assessment, marking and feedback in the Department
  • Employment issues and employment law

NB this course requires you to have support from an in-school mentor who attends an ISQAM half-day mentor training session. The cost of this is included in your delegate fee of £450 for the full year.

As a result of the recent Government announcement and introduction of lockdown measures this programme has moved to online delivery.

The course will still follow a blended delivery however the face-to-face elements will now be delivered via zoom meetings and it will be necessary to make some adjustment to the order of delivery of the modules.

ISQAM 2021 dates are as followed:

  • Introduction and Module 4 – Tuesday 2 February 2021 – 1pm – 4.15pm
  • Module 1 – Thursday 22 April 2021 – 4pm-5pm
  • Module 2 -Tuesday 11 May – 4pm-5.30pm
  • Module 3 – Tuesday 8 June – 2pm-3pm

If you have any queries, email the GSA PD Team.

Currently doing ISQAM Level 1?

Click below to access course materials. You will have been given a username and password which you should use to access the information.

Portfolio submission/Coronavirus: GSA appreciate the current challenges for ISQAM participants and anticipate that an option for additional time may be required for completion of portfolios. Contact to discuss.

Download course materials

ISQAM – Level 2

Delivered over two training days, ISQAM Level 2 will cover four modules:

  • The role of the HoD within wholeschool planning
  • Academic managers as leaders of learning. Making a difference to teacher practice and pupil outcomes
  • The use of data to improve pupil and departmental performance
  • Programmes of study and schemes of work

Bookings for Level 2 can be made through HMCPD.

Contact HMCPD

ISQAM – Masters Level

Participants wishing to gain Masters level credits for their ISQAM work can do this alongside Level 2 by completing a number of additional activities in the portfolio and submitting their work to UCL/Institute of Education for assessment.

If successful, 30 M-Level credits will be awarded. These may contribute towards a Masters degree in leadership,e.g. MA Leadership or MBA Educational Leadership (International). 180 credits are required for a full Masters degree.

In addition to the standard ISQAM fee for Level 2 (£625 for 2020/21), this assessment option will incur an additional charge, payable to UCL/IoE.

Find further information here.

To apply, please email

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