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Why the preponderance of male heads?

Sarah Webster's letter about women headteachers in Newham does misinterpret the meaning of what I said (TES Letters, September 12). Newham is a very male-orientated borough, reflected in the membership of the council and many of its organisations. Most of the headteachers used to be men. Many of them had only ever taught in the borough.

Clearly Newham has many outstanding men headteachers, but about three-quarters of the headteachers, including secondary, are now women. They have been particularly effective in the most deprived areas, but Newham's policies are to appoint the most effective candidate for the job irrespective of gender.

Satisfactory replacement of ineffective headteachers had to result in more men being replaced than women, but those replaced did include women as well. The present effective headteachers include men and women, but someone ought to ask why many LEAs employ more men headteachers than women, especially in secondary schools.

GRAHAM LANE

Chair Local Government Association London E6

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