Headlines: June 14th, 2004

Head teachers are the country’s best leaders, according to a new poll commissioned by the National College for School Leadership with 51% of respondents rating them as providing a particularly good example of leadership. Officers in the armed forces polled 38 per cent, with police on 35 per cent and doctors 34 per cent. They were followed by sports coaches/managers on 15 per cent, business directors 13 per cent and MPs 10 per cent. At the bottom of the table of professions which provided particularly good examples of leadership were union officials 7 per cent, local politicians and health service managers both 4 per cent and civil servants 3 per cent.The poll also reveals that respect is growing for head teachers. While heads continue to be the second most respected professionals next to doctors, there has been a significant increase in the number of people who profess a great deal of respect for them – 43 per cent compared to 39 per cent in the 2003 poll. Three in five people have a great deal of respect for doctors, with police officers third on 25 per cent.

The poll shows that the public remain confident in the standard of school leadership. Of the 900 people questioned who are either parents of children under 19 or who have visited a local school in the last six months, the vast majority, 72 per cent, agreed that leadership was good within schools. Almost half, 46 per cent, said that leadership in schools had improved over the last three years, with fewer than one in five, 17 per cent, believing that it had declined.