27th April 2007 at 01:00
Pity daniel moynihan. The next time he attends a headteachers' conference he is likely to have a "Kick me" note stuck to his jacket or suffer some other form of ribbing.

Dr Moynihan (right), the principal of Harris city technology college in Croydon, south London, was one of the authors of a report published by Policy Exchange, a right-wing think tank. The group, chaired by former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, concluded that heads should have the freedom to hire and fire at will and to ignore national pay guidelines so they could recruit the best teachers. It also carried out some empirical research, which pooh-poohed headteachers' impact on pupils' performance.

The Policy Exchange press release summed up the findings of the report with the headline "Heads make very little difference to schools", an angle that the media was swift to pick up.

Understandably, many heads have been outraged: the Association of School and College Leaders described the report as "nonsense".

But before fellow heads denounce Dr Moynihan as a traitor, and dangle him from a coatpeg by his underpants, they should check out his contribution to the report, a chapter titled "Headteachers can and do make a difference", which actually stands up for heads.

We hope this will give him some protection.

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,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today