Heading for a fall

22nd September 2006 at 01:00
With yet more research showing that there is going to be a vacuum of senior teachers ("Chronic loss of school leaders", TES, September 8), isn't it high time that more was done to combat this?

It is disturbing to think that a wealth of experience will rapidly drain if supporting measures aren't brought in to combat the cumbersome workloads, stress levels and unattractive pay of headteachers.

Currently, the process to become a headteacher is outdated, complex and extremely time consuming. Couple this with the fact that the financial incentives do not seem to be a big enough pull, and it is hardly surprising that teachers are not stepping up to fill the gap. Modernising and streamlining the path to headship and offering more realistic incentives could help to turn the situation around.

It is also obvious that teachers' stress levels need to be addressed. One approach that might take some of the pressure off heads could be for schools to recruit a manager to take on the business function leaving academic elements to a headteacher.

`We don't want to find ourselves in this same position in 20 years time with the NQTs of today who are currently so positive about their futures.

John Dunn

Director, Select Education Luton, Bedfordshire

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