Our heads deserve a better deal

21st September 2007 at 01:00
The latest pay survey by the School Teachers Review Body reveals the rise of the six-figure salary headteacher largely from England (see page 1). Of course, salaries of pound;90,000 upwards for Welsh heads are a rarity with smaller schools and fewer pupils to control. However, all heads, whether in primary or secondary schools, deserve every penny going.

Others may scoff but how many other professionals, especially in the public sector, can honestly say they have worked a 60-hour-plus week? Not many I suspect. Most heads known to TES Cymru would laugh at the idea of being able to find a true work-life balance, something that has rightly become an option for hard-working teachers in recent years, thanks to the workload agreement.

Their commitment is such that they probably want to put in extra hours to get the best out of their school, staff and pupils. But isn't it time they were given a break? For a while now heads and their representatives have been warning of initiative overload, alongside the inevitable paperwork it brings. This term heads can expect more than 70 new documents clogging up their inboxes and paper trays.

The answer from the School Workload Advisory Panel is to bin the least important. However, most of these latest documents appear crucial, a product of Wales's ever-changing political landscape. Gareth Jones, the Association of School and College Leaders Cymru secretary, feels good pay is an important incentive to encourage more teachers to strive for the top.

It does seem barmy that a senior teacher in a secondary school can earn more than a primary head. If we don't start treating our heads with a bit of tender loving care, as well as making their positions more tenable, there will no one to step into their shoes when they leave. Then what will we do?

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