Foundation stone holds me down

9th May 2008 at 01:00
Yet another TES article about the crisis in primary headship recruitment, this time exploring new ways of school organisation to tackle the problem
Yet another TES article about the crisis in primary headship recruitment, this time exploring new ways of school organisation to tackle the problem. I set this alongside my own experience of three years of unsuccessful applications to inner-city London primary and infant schools. I am a successful nursery headteacher, running a "good school", and have additional responsibility as head of a Children's Centre. I have a solid track record in leadership, including as a National College for School Leadership consultant leader, built on years of management experience with a major retailer.

To be fair, I have been interviewed twice. But when given feedback and not shortlisted, I have been assured that my experience as a head is excellent ("If you were applying for one of our nursery schools or Children's Centres, we'd grab you," was one comment), but that without experience in KS1 andor 2, "governors" feel unable to take my application further ("Foundation stage is very specialised").

In a climate of personalised learning, excellence and enjoyment, foundation stage practice and its broad curriculum organisation moving into KS1, and with the Every Child Matters and extended schoolsservices agenda, all of which I have deep knowledge, I am at a loss to understand why this closed shop continues and what evidence it is based on. It appears not to apply when the prospective head comes from the key stage above that for which they are applying. I don't blame governors, as I am very aware of how local authorities assert their influence. Frankly, I am astonished that a profession focused on fulfilling potential appears to discriminate against heads from the foundation stage, preferring to take an untried deputy from the same phase as the advertised post. We need to be open to existing potential within the system before calling for wholesale reorganisation of the system.

Nursery headteacher, North London, Name and address supplied.

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