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Non-teachers needed to help solve projected shortage of 19,000 school leaders

A quarter of schools could struggle to fill leadership vacancies by 2022, according to training bodies

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A quarter of schools could struggle to fill leadership vacancies by 2022, according to training bodies

Schools need to bring in more non-teachers to fill “executive roles” if they are to confront a projected shortage of up to 19,000 school leaders by 2022, according to a report published today.

A quarter of schools in England will be affected by the shortages, with rural, coastal and deprived areas hit the hardest, the joint study from the training organisations the Future Leaders Trust, Teaching Leaders and Teach First warns.

It sets out plans to develop a new generation of school leaders, which include “building the brand of school leadership” to encourage more teachers – particularly those from under-represented black and minority-ethnic backgrounds – to step up.

The report, The School Leadership Challenge, also suggests that schools “explore expanding the pool of candidates for non-teaching executive roles to those outside the profession”.

The idea received a cautious welcome from Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. “It is fine to bring people in to executive levels to take on non-teaching responsibilities if they have a relevant and appropriate set of experiences and they are engaged with the culture of educational establishments,” he said.

The report’s authors estimate there is an existing shortage of between 2,000 and 3,000 school leaders - defined as heads, deputy and assistant heads, heads of school, executive heads and chief executives. But, in addition, over the next six years the profession is expected to lose around 8,000 leaders through retirement or people leaving the profession. Lastly, up to 8,000 new leaders may be needed to meet a growth in leadership positions, such as executive heads and CEO roles, making a shortfall of up to 19,000 posts.

The Department for Education said it did not recognise the figures. Since 2010, the proportion of schools reporting headteacher vacancies had decreased. But it recognised the need to develop more “great school leaders”.

This is an edited version of an article in the 11 November edition of TES. Subscribers can view the full article here. This week's TES magazine is available at all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here



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