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‘Pastoral matters bog you down more than HR’

One headteacher who made the rare switch from Scotland to England says greater autonomy for finance and staffing need not distract leaders from classroom matters

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Ben Davis was head of St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock three years ago, but he wanted a new challenge. Or, as he puts it, he and his young family were looking for an adventure.

They decided to move to north-west England, so that he could take over as head of the 1,150-pupil St Ambrose Barlow Roman Catholic High in Salford. In doing so, he became one of that small group of people who have worked as headteachers on both sides of the border, giving him a better vantage point than most people of the two education systems’ merits and shortcomings.

The drama and English teacher – who is full of ...

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