Headteacher recruitment crisis sparks fears over school standards

A report calls for 'immediate action' to be taken to encourage more staff into the top job

Henry Hepburn

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A dearth of leadership talent could lead to a fall in Scottish school standards unless urgent action is taken to tackle the crisis in headteacher recruitment, according to a major report.

Ever-expanding demands on heads – as well as salaries offering little incentive for promotion – are deterring many outstanding teachers from applying for headships, the report finds.

It says that a national action plan and a review of salary scales will be crucial to reversing that trend.

The report warns that unless “immediate action” is taken, the failure to recruit headteachers will become “one of the inhibitors to the progress of school improvement on a national scale and will lead to significant operational difficulty locally”.

Inconsistent approaches to finding and nurturing heads meant “many potential leaders are missed or overlooked”, the research says, adding that fewer teachers are prepared to uproot their families for a headship.

The document, prepared for the Scottish government by education directors’ body ADES, finds that the job of a headteacher has become more complex in recent years, because of changes in legislation, curriculum and societal expectations.

A government spokeswoman said: “While it is for local authorities to recruit headteachers, we are taking decisive action to reduce bureaucracy which will have a beneficial impact on the work of headteachers.”

This is an edited version of an article in the 16 September edition of TESS. Subscribers can view the full story hereThis week's TESS magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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