Tackling the London Headteacher Shortage

A few years ago, it become clear that there not enough teachers to fill demand for UK primary schools. The baby boom that had preceded this warning continues to have an effect, and the consequences are getting more wide-reaching.  As the population surge grows up, it is the secondary schools that will have to bear the brunt of this bulge. In fact, demand for secondary places is expected to rise by around 105,000 in the next ten years. A recent report from LMKco and Kempton Consulting has shed light on the growing worry that London is set to miss its targets for secondary headteachers.

The issue arises because the gap in headteachers leaving the profession into senior leadership is not on track to be filled by those entering senior leadership. Whilst 58% of London headteachers have contemplated leaving in the next three years, only 31% of secondary teachers in London are aspiring for senior leadership.

According to the report, the barriers to bridging this gap are a lack of professional development content and a lack of coherence in a system that people generally find confusing. One of the main problems seems to be a lack of long-term vision surrounding these sorts of issues. Senior leaders themselves need to start mentoring potential heads earlier in their careers.

Secondments, a key way for aspiring headteachers to get experience are also rarely realised. Although 79% of deputy headteachers wanted a secondment opportunity, only 10% actually gained one.

So…what can we do?

The report lays out the potential solutions:

·         More secondment and shadowing opportunities.

·         A London future leadership fund to support new intake.

·         London-wide careers fairs to improve knowledge and training opportunities.

·         A pan-London campaign to promote senior leadership and counter negative perceptions.

·         School governor campaign and support.

How do you think you we can help solve this recruitment crisis and which if these solutions do you believe will be the most effective? Have your say and get in touch with us on social media.

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