Tags: Headteacher | School Governance | School Governor | School Leadership & Management | Staff Recruitment

Schools in England and Wales are finding it increasingly difficult to appoint headteachers.

The latest annual survey of the labour market for senior staff in schools, carried out for the NAHT and SHA, found that more than one in five of the schools that advertised for a new head in the year up to July 2005 failed to make an appointment.

Primary schools fared the worst with almost 28% of the headship posts advertised remaining unfilled.

The survey also found a continuing fall in the number of people applying for headship vacancies. In secondary schools, the average number of applicants for each post was down by 16% to 12.8, continuing the downward trend of the past four years. There was an average of only 5.4 applicants for each primary headship vacancy.

Dr John Dunford, general secretary of SHA, said: ‘The survey shows clearly that recruitment to school headship is becoming more difficult every year. This must be addressed urgently or more schools will soon be facing life without a head as the large proportion of heads over age 50 retires.’

Mick Brookes, the NAHT’s general secretary, added: ‘Risk, responsibility and reward must be brought into balance. It is not acceptable that teachers are deterred from seeking posts in the leadership group because workload and pay are out of kilter.’

The survey was carried out by Professor John Howson of Education Data Surveys, using questionnaires sent to all maintained schools that advertised a leadership grade post in the national media between August 2004 and July 2005.

This article first appeared in School Governor Update – Sep 2005

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