Lack of head teachers?

James Heartfield's picture
I was a governor at my daughters' school, Hargrave Park, in Islington. The school's children did not on the whole come from better off families, but it was a well run school under the headmistress - until she retired.

After then, the school failed to fill the Head teacher's post being run by a succession of temporary and acting heads, and then later a headteacher who worked for eight months and then left for another job.

The governing body went through a number of rounds of interviews, but often failed to find a good candidate. No doubt we were at fault, in failing to solve the problem. On the other hand, it seemed to me that we did face two problems that were not of our own making. The first was that there seem to be fewer people with the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) than there are head teaching posts. The second, it seemed to me, was that we did not get much support from the local education authority, privatised by the council, and run by the Cambridge Educational Trust.

Not having a headteacher was debilitating for the school, which suffered a drift in its budget and its staffing. Though teachers mostly worked hard in the staff room, there were often gaps that were covered by supply teachers. There were a number of poor results in testing. Parents became anxious about the school.

It did make me wonder whether there was a problem of people not wanting to become headteachers, or whether the National College that awards the NPQH was not training enough people, or whether the school was simply seen as too problematic to be attractive to potential candidates. I should add that there was a headteacher appointed, who started this term, and seems to be handling things very well.
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