From August, two of the largest schools in Scotland are set to come under the leadership of one headteacher.
At the beginning of the new school year, Gerry Lyons, the headteacher of St Andrew’s RC Secondary in Glasgow, will also become the headteacher of Holyrood Secondary, five miles away and on the opposite side of the Clyde. The decision was taken after the council failed to receive “sufficient high-calibre applicants for the position of headteacher at Holyrood”.
When the partnership between the two schools is introduced, Mr Lyons will join South Ayrshire head Lyndsay McRoberts as one of only two headteachers in Scotland responsible for running two secondary schools. Ms McRoberts became head of Kyle and Ayr academies in South Ayrshire in November last year “in an effort to directly address the challenges of a small school roll at Ayr Academy, the related isolation of subject teaching staff and an urgent need to raise attainment”, according to the council.
The council plans to run the shared headship as a pilot until the end of the 2017-18 school year. In Glasgow, meanwhile, the council plans to review its shared headship of Holyrood and St Andrew’s in 2018. However, Jim Thewliss, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, warned that while shared headships in secondary could be positive, they should only ever be temporary. He said: “Joint headship is not conducive to the development of the school community or the sense of ownership a community feels in its school.”
Shared headship is, however, far more common in primary. Currently Shirley MacLachlan is the head in charge of the largest grouping of primary schools in Scotland and leads six of Arran’s seven primaries. However, the council pointed out that whilst Ms MacLachlan is in charge of six schools, she is responsible for just 197 pupils, which is “well within the norm”. A review will be carried out of the new arrangement in September.
Meanwhile, in August, Highland is set to begin implementing its plans for mega clusters. For instance, one headteacher will run Dornoch Academy, Dornoch Primary and Bonar Bridge Primary.