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A change of headteacher is not always necessary

We were interested in reading about "failing schools" (TES, May 23) and in particular that the key factor in recovery is appointing an effective head.

While we believe that effective leadership is essential, in our forthcoming book, No Quick Fixes, we dispute that a new head is always necessary.

In only just over half of cases thus far, the head has changed within a term or two before (25 per cent) or after (75 per cent) the school's failure. In many cases, a headteacher who has been at the school for some years has remained at the helm. Some of these have moved on a year or two later. Others have stayed with the school and led it to substantial improvement - in several cases, actually leading it off special measures.

The judgment of special measures releases extra funds and support from the local education authority. If all the departing heads had been given extra resources and support when they needed it, we wonder if they would have left.

DR KATE MYERS

DR LOUISE STOLL

International School Effectiveness and Improvement Centre Institute of Education University of London 20 Bedford Way London WC1

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