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Heads for faith schools hard to find

18 January 2012

by Margaret Holness, Education Correspondent

MORE than four in ten posts for heads of Church of England schools had to advertise more than once last year, the annual survey of senior staff appointments published today suggests.

The readvertisement rate of 42 per cent — down one point on last year’s survey — compares with a national rate of 38 per cent for primary schools, and 24 per cent for secondary schools. Only four times in the past 20 years have fewer than 40 per cent of C of E schools found a head teacher after one interview, the survey points out.

Roman Catholic schools found it even harder to find new heads: more than half of them failed to appoint after one advertisement. The figures were a ten-per-cent improve­ment on the previous year, however.

Professor John Howson, of Data for Education, who has compiled the survey for the past 27 years, says that the recent removal of the mandatory requirement for headship applicants to hold the National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH) may ease the situation for small church primary schools.

But, he says: “Given the well established effect of the head teacher on the success of a school, it is time the churches found a solution to the problem.”

The deputy secretary of the National Society, Dr Rob Gwynne, said: “We recognise the importance of finding excellent leaders for our distinctive schools, and, with the support of the National College of School Leadership, we are develop­ing succession-planning strategies for an improved supply of potential heads.” He added that the most difficult posts to fill were those in challenging urban schools.

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