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Human side of a headteacher shortage

The issue of head recruitment should be addressed with greater focus on human factors involved, rather than just highlighting the fact that a generation of heads are near retirement.

Government and local authorities still fail to see the very real pitfalls involved in taking up headship. Workload is an obvious one, although that has become accepted and monitored to some extent. But the role of inspection in undermining confidence in the security and status of headship remains a blindspot for those with political investment in schools' "success".

Schooling, headship and inspection all have a subjective dimension at heart. In the six years since my own experience of inspection, I have remained convinced that what it feels like to be a head is fundamental to whether anyone might want to do the job. A focus on this in policy-making would make a big difference in tackling the worrying decline in headship applications.

Phil Goss

Former headteacher,

Carnforth, Lancashire

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