Schools struggling to recruit headteachers

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New figures have revealed that four in ten primary schools had difficulty appointing a headteacher last year, with posts having to be re-advertised. In 1993/94 just 19% of primary headships were re-advertised.

The research, by Education Data Surveys, found that a quarter of secondary schools were also unable to appoint a new headteacher.

The study revealed that 40 out of the 381 secondary schools that advertised positions were offering salaries in excess of £100,000. However, this figure is down by 16 per cent compared to the previous year.

Professor John Howson, who conducted the survey, said 2009/10 had been "disastrous" for many primary 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," he said.

In secondary schools, re-advertisement rates rose by one percentage point to 28% - nearly three in ten.

According to the report: "In a controlled world where access to headship is governed by the successful completion of the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) qualification something is seriously wrong when the equivalent of 40% of posts require re-advertisement because they are not filled during that recruitment round.

"Not only is this a scandalous waste of public money in an age of austerity, but there must be questions as to whether or not schools without a head teacher perform less well than those where the school leadership team is led by someone with a clear purpose for the school."

Prof Howson suggested that the requirement for school principals to have the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) could be acting as a barrier in some cases.

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