Schools face record difficulty recruiting primary Head teachers

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50% of primary schools seeking a new Head unsuccessful in one in five local authorities

Only 11% of local authorities had no primary schools that needed to re-advertise

"The Coalition inherited a school leadership crisis from Labour."

Professor John Howson commented that, "The 2009/10 school year had been a disastrous one for many primary schools seeking a new head teacher. A record 40% of adverts went unfilled, a level not previously witnessed during the 26 years our survey has reported on the labour market for senior staff in schools. With one in five local authorities seeing more than half their primary schools that were looking for a new head being unsuccessful at least once, and some having to place two, three or more rounds of advertisements, this is a serious situation". 

Record re-advertisement rates amongst Roman Catholic schools, with over 60% of adverts placed by such schools unfilled in 2009/10 have helped to push the overall rate for the primary sector above the 40% level for the first time.

Professor Howson called for a re-examination of numbers taking the NPQH qualification and a review of whether it is necessary for the primary sector? He also reiterated his call, first made in the 24th report in 2009 for deputy head posts to be advertised for a fixed term period to encourage more deputies to move into headship. "At present," commented Professor Howson, "we are not appointing enough new deputy heads in the primary sector to meet the current or future demand for head teachers."

Although there were difficulties recruiting secondary head teachers, the problem was not on the scale seen in the primary sector, however many special schools face similar difficulties to primary schools when seeking a new head teacher. Generally, the problem is less severe in Wales and Scotland.

Source: The Education Data 26th Annual Survey

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