Big salary was a turn-off

31st July 1998 at 01:00
AS A SERVING headteacher in an inner-London secondary school I was very interested to read your article ''Pounds 70,000 on offer to heads'' (TES, July 17).

I considered applying for one of the so-called "superhead" posts - at Islington Green, which is operating under special measures designed to drive up standards - because my own experience of more than 20 years working in similar schools in that part of London made me, in my view, a strong candidate.

Having survived two inspections as a head, I felt well prepared for the challenge. I decided not to apply, however, precisely because of the high salary on offer, which, I believe, will turn out to be an obstacle to progress at the school and not the panacea the local education authority's chair of education thinks it will be.

The salary did appear attractive at first - and I believe all grades of teachers deserve better pay - but, on reflection, it was clear that the gap between the salary of the head and that of the senior management team, not to mention the other teachers, would hinder the task of taking the school out of special measures rather than help it.

The only way to make a school work is to build a committed team, but how could this be achieved if there were such a huge income gap? Surely the notion of buying in a "superhead" like a football star runs counter to the philosophy that underpins the public service comprehensive system?

Contrary to what John Howson of Education Data Services says in your report, the high salary that is on offer is likely isolate the school as well as the new head and destabilise the development of the whole borough.

It is not extra pay that is needed to attract candidates to high-risk schools but proper remuneration across the board along with proper support from the government and a properly-funded local authority.

Name and address supplied.

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