Mentoring network set up to help more women break into headship

15th January 2016 at 14:39

A new mentoring network to help female teachers become heads is being set up by the Leading Women’s Alliance.

The initiative was one of the practical steps discussed at a conference in London today as a way of tackling the gender disparity at the top of education – 74 per cent of classroom teachers are women but only 65 per cent of heads are female, and a recent analysis found that when they do make the move into headship, women get smaller pay rises than men.

Carol Jones, leadership specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and chair of the Leading Women’s Alliance, which hosted today’s conference, said that while men could be valuable mentors, aspiring women deputy and assistant heads say they would also benefit from female role models.

“We have set up a database for people wanting mentoring and coaching and lots of women, serving school leaders, have also contacted me saying 'how can I help?'” Ms Jones said. “A lot of deputies want to know how women heads have managed their work/life balance and what attitudes they encounter. They want to talk to serving women heads about those issues.”

Sian Carr, executive principal of the Skinners’ Kent Academy and Skinners’ Kent Primary School, told the conference: “Talent spotting should be the norm in schools and, once spotted, mentoring and coaching should be a right, so that colleagues understand the pathways to headship and feel supported.”

Natasha Boyce, assistant principal of Tudor Grange Samworth Academy in Leicester, said: “Mentoring and coaching is what I need for the next step. I think it is essential. You need someone you can talk to, as a critical friend, someone who appreciates the challenges you face. People are coached and mentored, but it’s not strategic, that is what needs to change.”

The Leading Women’s Alliance consists of ASCL, the Future Leaders Trust, the UCL Institute of Education, #WomenEd, Mulberry School for Girls, Hackney Teaching Schools Alliance and City of London Academy Islington. Ms Jones said interested teachers could contact her at ASCL.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook


Related Content

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today