Headlines: November 9th, 2007

Steps to recruit more headteachers have received a boost today with new figures showing there is a pool of ambitious teachers keen to take on the role. The National College for School Leadership has welcomed the news, especially as many current heads are approaching retirement age.

The results of the National College ‘s Headship Index, which measures the appetite for school leadership, show that almost a third of teachers see becoming a head as their goal and one in twelve expects to get a head teacher post within the next three years. Almost 40 per cent of the 67,000 teachers aged between 30 and 44 have indicated they want to be heads and two-thirds of them say they are determined to do so at the first opportunity.

The Index is particularly encouraging for primary schools, given that of the 2,388 which advertised for a new head between March and September last year 638 failed to appoint and had to readvertise. The new figures show that just over a third of primary teachers aspire to headship.

The number of heads reaching retirement age is set to peak over the next three years but the National College says current heads are playing a crucial role in developing ambition in their colleagues. More than 80 per cent of teachers say they have been inspired by the leader at their own school. They are also motivated by the chance to progress quickly with 63 per cent of teachers reporting that they believe they can reach headship more quickly than in the past.

The NCSL Director of Succession Planning, Chris Kirk said, “With the baby boomer generation of heads approaching retirement age, identifying new school leaders is more important than ever before. The Headship Index shows us that there is a depth of ambition across the teaching profession and we are building on this momentum with our campaign to find, develop and keep great headteachers.”

Through the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today campaign the NCSL is working with schools, local authorities, dioceses, governors and current heads. A network of National Succession Consultants is developing strategies to give talented and ambitious candidates support and encouragement.