Schools may end up sharing heads

SCHOOLS could end up sharing headteachers because of a dire shortage of leaders across Suffolk, it was claimed today.

SCHOOLS could end up sharing headteachers because of a dire shortage of leaders across Suffolk, it was claimed today.

Education chiefs at Suffolk County Council expect a third of all headteachers working in Suffolk to have retired within the next three to five years. Others believe the county could lose up to half of the current crop of headteachers within five years.

As well as trying to recruit more school leaders to the county, the council is also looking at a variety of school management options, including federation schools managed by a single head.

Ways of making headships more attractive to teachers was one of the issues looked at by the annual Eastern Leadership Centre (ELC) Conference.

ELC chief executive Grant Bage said: “All of the local education authorities are developing strategies to try and improve recruitment and improve the number of people interested in going into headships. Headship is a really rewarding job and it is also very demanding. There are many more people to whom heads are responsible and answerable to including parents, governing bodies, colleagues, the wider communities Ofsted and more.”

Kevin Bullock, headteacher at Fordham C of E Primary near Newmarket, said it was now crucial that existing heads act as talent spotters for the school leaders of the future and gave aspirational teachers a chance to manage an area of school life.”

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He said: “I've heard it said that as many as 50per cent of heads will be gone five years. One thing being looked at is federation schools in which a head teacher would oversee a number of schools. It can work very well.”

Mr Bullock, whose school was ranked outstanding by Ofsted for the manner in which it fostered talent, added federation schools were a better alternative to promoting teachers without managerial experience to headships. He added being a headteacher was one of the most thrilling jobs available.

A council spokesman said: “The projection is that a third of headteachers will be retiring in the next three to five years. Given the ongoing school organisation review, there are a number of ideas and options being looked into including creating federation schools.

“Recruiting strong, energetic and imaginative leaders is something that is always high on the agenda of every local authority in the country and that includes Suffolk.”

N What can be done to encourage good headteachers to Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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