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Schools in England struggle to recruit heads, says report

Discussion in 'Education news' started by chelsea2, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Who'd have thought it? And the DfE trots out one of its standard responses.

    Many schools in England are struggling to recruit head teachers, amid increasingly negative attitudes to the job, a report warns.
    It is crucial to counter negative views of headship, the Future Leaders Trust report says.
    More than a quarter (28%) of existing heads are planning to leave within five years, while younger heads are unwilling to take on the role, it adds.
    The government said it was taking steps to address the problem.
    The report draws on research conducted jointly with the Times Educational Supplement (TES) last year, which also suggests most heads expect to leave the job within 10 years.
    Separate research suggests "a clear decline" in positive perceptions of the role, the report says.
    In 2009 a survey by the National College of School Leadership suggested 92% of head teachers believed they had "a great job".
    But last year, another survey of senior leaders indicated almost nine in 10 (87%) felt headship was less attractive than it had been five years ago.
    And research from the National Governors Association with the TES suggested 43% of 4,383 schools that recruited senior staff in 2015 had struggled to find good candidates.
    Headship is "associated with high levels of stress and workload", the report says, while schools in isolated or economically deprived areas find it particularly hard to recruit heads.
    "Taking up a headship in a challenging school with a poor Ofsted judgement is seen as a career risk because failure to improve the school quickly may be seen as failure," it says.
    "Unsurprisingly, it is disadvantaged students in areas with relatively few opportunities, in schools that must improve, who are most affected by these negative perceptions of headship."
    Future Leaders Trust chief executive Heath Monk said the talent was out there "but many people need encouragement to understand they can step up".
    "The solution is for existing heads to spot potential leaders in their schools and inspire them about headship," he said.
    "That means correcting the negative perceptions about the job and talking up its possibilities."
    Ofsted's chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said: "It is incumbent on all leaders to plan for succession and develop potential within their teams."
    Another contributor, Prof John Howson, an expert in school recruitment, said headship would not become attractive until "it is accepted that leaders themselves need support and recognition for their work".
    A Department for Education spokesman said high quality school leaders were essential to the government's vision "of educational excellence everywhere".
    "We are making good progress towards this goal, with Ofsted rating 85% of schools as 'good' or 'outstanding' for leadership and management, as well as a head teacher vacancy rate of just 0.2%, but we are not complacent," he said.
    "Our Talented Leaders initiative is placing outstanding head teachers into struggling schools, and the National Teaching Service will place 1,500 teachers and middle leaders in underperforming schools by 2020."

  2. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I used to think I'd like to be a head and then I realised I trust my fellow professionals to do their jobs without being micro-managed. I'll leave that job to the psychopaths out there.
    Mangleworzle and Compassman like this.
  3. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter


    The job has become one where in many places it's only the conscienceless who are prepared to be enough of a barsteward to others in order to hang on to the job. Looks like even those are in short supply - good.
  4. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Not sure I would agree to that.

    Nonetheless, I am glad I am now retired!
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    This for me is key to attracting new Heads. The job involves so much more than it did 20 years ago, when a colleague who became a Head said, with all the responsilities and areas now included in the job it's comparable with running a company, rather than just being a Head whose main responsibilities are supporting children and staff.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    The pool is limited to those prepared to work 60 hour weeks at risk to their health, relationships and work life balance.

    Really, you ought to have shared headship roles to enable a greater pool to be accessed.
  7. darklord11

    darklord11 Occasional commenter

    There are lots of basket cases out there that want the job but like most SLT's they are pretty useless and this report does highlight the fact they were looking for good quality candidates.
    Too many are glorified administrators with a business manager, Head of HR, two deputies and God only knows how many assistant heads or deputy vice licker.
    Don't know if primaries are going the same way but this is certainly true foe Academies and there's Executives and CEO's when it comes to Academy chains.
  8. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    But this is the ideological dream we were sold where "freedom" was handed to HT's so they could ignore the LEA. The reality seems to be that it is only an assortment of "Executives" in academy chains who have benefitted by becoming their own LEA and having no-one question their dodgy practices.
    darklord11 likes this.

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