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Denial of dignified retreat

Chris Woodhead's report indicates that 14 per cent of the primary headteaching force are not giving their schools the right quality of leadership. When you consider that many headteachers have been in their present posts for many years, this is not surprising.

The enormous shift in the job requirements over the past 15 years or so mean that many heads are not now in the job to which they were appointed.

Many who honestly admitted that the job is no longer what they want to do have sought early retirement as a means of dignified retreat.

It is somewhat ironic, therefore, that this opportunity will be removed from all but a few at a time when it is vital that it remains. The inevitable outcome is that there will be a rise in the number of "unsatisfactory" headteachers as future changes are thrust upon increasing numbers who are seeing out their 40 years.

J M ZEALANDER 59 Missenden Acres Hedge End, Southampton

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