Heads are on a hiding to nothing

26th January 2007 at 00:00
The reason heads end up unblocking toilets (TES, January 19) is not because they are "avoiding their leadership responsibilities" but because they are often the only people left to keep things ticking over, particularly in "challenging" schools.

In such cases, the core business of school leadership becomes a matter of slotting in a lesson observation between dealing with a collapsed roof and a pupil's medical crisis.

The report suggesting professionals with no teaching experience be brought in as heads fails to grasp how problematic headship has become. A huge workload and unrealistic, politicised expectations from a government that relies on heads to fulfil its promises are the reasons why headship has become a hiding to nothing. All this, and Ofsted too. When will the realities of this problem be faced up to?

Phil Goss, Carnforth, Lancashire

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