The assistant head is one this month. During its first twelve months of life in the leadership lane, some 800 assistant head posts have been advertised in The TES, mostly by secondary schools. Most advertisements were posted by schools in Groups 5-8. As you might expect with a new arrival, there has been much interest in these posts.
After reviewing 245 vacancies, schools received an average of 27 applications per post. Almost all adverts resulted in an appointment, with just 5 per cent of schools unsuccessful in making an appointment. This is a much better success rate than for posts at other grades on the leadership spine. Among the posts reviewed that provided details, there was an almost equal balance of women (100) and men (97) appointed, but only 5 per cent of assistant heads came from any ethnic category other than "white".
Most new assistant heads were in their thirties on appointment, with 22 per cent under 35, but 16 per cent of those appointed were older than 45, and 3 per cent were over 50. Only 30 per cent of schools that advertised nationally for an assistant head appointed an internal candidate. There may, though, be other schools that didn't advertise nationally since it is not clear whether schools are required to do so for such posts. What is more evident is that, compared with the introduction of the advanced skills teacher, the take up of assistant head posts by the profession has been much more enthusiastic.
Even so, since interest in deputy and headship posts is dwindling nationally, might we expect the assistant head post to prove more troublesome when it hits the "terrible twos"?