What type of head do you need?

The emergence of portfolio heads could force two major changes in the appointment of headteachers: the fixed-term contract and the "package appointment".

"I'm not arguing in favour of either," says Mr Flintham. "I'm simply saying that this would be the logical consequence of what we're seeing.

"If so, a school in a particular phase of life might well appoint someone with a particular set of skills and appoint that person for a fixed term to see the school through to the next phase.

"I can see a time coming when potential heads will say to interviewing panels: 'This is my particular skills set, this is how it matches the needs of the school, and this is my time framework'."

Governors would need to be honest in their evaluation of their school and what it needed right now. They might choose, says Mr Flintham, from some basic head types:

Heroic head

... moves in to a school that needs rescuing, perhaps from special measures or from a failed headship. A little later the school may need a ...

Consolidating head

... after a shake-up the school may need a steady hand on the tiller and someone who can see the changes through.

Nurturing head

... bruised members of staff may respond to a people person, as may a school that has been through a crisis or tragedy.

Pruner head

... someone with a longer vision who cuts away some of the previous development, possibly including the emergency measures of a heroic head, to make way for new growth.

Visionary head

... comes into a school that is coasting along nicely but could do better.

Has a long-term plan to get the school really flying.

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