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Unfilled posts leave profession on knife-edge
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Unfilled posts leave profession on knife-edge

The 16th annual survey of the education labour market, prepared by Education Data Surveys (EDS) for the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), shows a significant increase in the percentage of headship posts remaining unfilled after a first advertisement. The report is published on Friday 1 October 2010.


Figures shows that a third of head teacher posts in the Primary sector were reported unfilled after an advertisement in 2009/10 compared with 26% in 2008/9.  The figures for Special schools were nearly half (43%), compared with 27% in 2008/9 and for Secondary schools 20% (19%).


The absence of a permanent, substantive head interrupts a school’s development.  High re-advertisement rates cause significant additional expenditure for schools as well as extra uncertainty for staff, pupils and parents and difficulties for succession planning.  Although there has been no marked increase in the number of retirements yet, any future increase will, undoubtedly be harder to manage.  NAHT remains concerned that any changes to pension arrangements will cause a mass exodus of school leaders from the profession.  The number of vacancies in deputy and assistant headship fell last year raising concerns about the long term supply of candidates for school leadership.


Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT says


“You can’t have great schools without great school leadership.  The issues highlighted by this Report make it essential that all those within education promote the job of school leadership.  This applies to the unions, the media and the government.  To encourage the leaders of tomorrow we need to give leaders today freedom and autonomy under fair and accurate accountability in order to flourish in what, on a good day, is ‘the best job in the world’.


Professor John Howson of Education Data Surveys at TSL Education comments as follows:


"I am concerned that the new arrangements for the mandatory NPQH qualification have not yet solved the problem of head teacher recruitment."



Page Published: 30/09/2010