Schools in Crisis
It has been suggested that England will be facing a shortage of up to 19,000 senior teachers by 2022 if action is not taken to close the gap. One in four schools across the country will feel the effect due to lack of headteachers, deputy heads and assistant heads, according to a report by three trusted education organisations. Moreover, an increase in pupil numbers and senior staff leaders retiring or leaving the profession early means more people will need to step into top roles.
In addition, many schools are experiencing problems in recruiting staff. On estimate, schools spend up to £200m a year on recruitment. Most are still unsuccessful in finding the calibre of candidate they require. There are four main issues in finding school leaders:
- potential headteachers find the job too challenging
- the profession lacks a culture of development and feedback
- recruitment of headteachers is inconsistent
- leaders feel they are not getting enough support or or lacking motivation to stay in leadership roles.
Disadvantaged students hit hardest
Overall, England is in need of between 14,000 and 19,000 more heads, deputy heads and assistant heads by 2022. At the same time, the supply of school leaders is to fall by 8,000, due to staff leaving the profession early. Consequently, Secondary schools are currently the feeling the most affect. On the contrary by 2022, the issue will also be having an impact on primaries. Disadvantaged students are most likely to be hit by a lack of staff.
The Department for Education said: “We do not recognise these figures. The latest school workforce data shows that there are 68,800 FTE leaders in state schools in England. Furthermore, since 2010 the proportion of schools reporting a headteacher vacancy has decreased. Also, the number of school leaders over the age of 50 has plummeted significantly.
Swift Action Necessary
Malcolm Trobe, the interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Many more school leaders will be needed over the next few years and it is vital to take action now to address this issue. Undoubtedly, the government and profession will have to work together to ensure the right training and development opportunities are in place to encourage and nurture future leaders.