Leadership put at risk by recruitment

27th June 2003 at 01:00
LEADERSHIP of schools has improved dramatically in the past six years but further improvements may be hampered by problems recruiting and retaining headteachers.

The Office for Standards in Education reported today that the proportion of heads providing very good or excellent leadership had more than doubled between 1996 and 2002. Inspectors said the change was "remarkable".

The proportion of heads whose leadership was very good or better rose from 15 per cent to 40 per cent in primaries and 19 per cent to 47 per cent in secondaries. Poor or unsatisfactory leadership was less common, but continued to affect around one in 20 schools.

A second report, due to be published on Tuesday by the National College of School Leadership (NCSL), will also highlight striking improvements.

However, it will warn that problems recruiting and retaining new heads may hamper future changes.

Geoff Southworth, NCSL director of research, said the high number of heads' posts being readvertised showed many prospective leaders were reluctant to take on the role.

He said it was worrying that 45 per cent of England's heads, deputies and assistant heads were over the age of 50.

"Improving retention of senior staff may merit as much attention as keeping newly-qualified teachers," he said. "Even so, retaining senior staff for longer will only delay the effects of the 'retirement bulge' that will affect the whole profession in the next decade."

Ofsted found the monitoring, evaluation and development of teaching was a weak spot in the leadership and management of a fifth of schools.

The worst area in secondaries was the governing body's effectiveness in fulfilling statutory duties, which was unsatisfactory or poor in nearly a third.

Headteachers will face even more rigorous treatment by Ofsted from September when they will be assessed on how much they inspire their staff and pupils and whether they act as good role models.

Leadership and management: What inspection tells us is at www.ofsted.gov.uk. NCSL's School Leadership Report 2003 will be available at www.ncsl.org.uk from Tuesday

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today