The National College for School Leadership in England commissioned an evaluation and impact study of their new programme for recently appointed head teachers, the Headteacher Induction Programme (HIP). The early stages of this research study sought to elicit from new head teachers who were starting on the programme their own views of their needs and priorities. This paper draws from original quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative (interview) data in order to examine what it is that head teachers believe they need in terms of professional development support at the time of what is arguably the most challenging professional experience of their career. What emerges is an extremely diverse picture, suggesting that there are many factors contributing to the formation and nature of headship, and that it is difficult to find a common set of needs or wishes. However, some patterns do emerge and these are reported. In addition the paper offers an exploration of the reasons for this diversity.