Recruiting heads 'is harder for church schools'

Education Editor,Richard Garner
Monday 14 January 2002 01:00

Church schools are finding it harder to recruit headteachers than other state schools, a report out today says.

Figures show that a quarter of schools with a vacancy had to advertise for a second time because they could not find a suitable candidate. However, as many as 52 per cent of Catholic schools and 32 per cent of Church of England schools had to advertise again.

The figures are a worry at a time when the Government has made commitments to an expansion in the number of church schools and the Church of England has announced plans for 100 more secondary schools over the next decade.

The report by Professor John Howson, a leading specialist on teacher recruitment, reveals that overall headteacher vacancies have shown a slight drop since the record levels that had been found in the past 12 months.

In all, one in 10 – or 2,609 headteachers – left their job last year compared with 2,722 the previous year. However, the number of schools having to readvertise posts rose from 19 per cent to 26 per cent.

In addition, jobs right across the country had to be readvertised rather than only those coming available in London and the South-east. The number of schools placing more than one advertisement for the same job actually fell in the South-east as schools began offering more pay, with salaries for primary school headteachers breaking the £60,000 barrier for the first time.

Professor Howson said the reason for the high rate of re-advertisements in Roman Catholic schools "may well be because they are primarily schools run for members 'of the faith' and thus expect Catholics as headteachers".

He added that at one time having repeatedly to advertise posts was "only a problem faced by schools in London and the South-east. Last year it became a national issue."

However, the slight drop in the number of headteachers quitting could be an indication of easier times ahead, the professor said.

"It is to be hoped that after a difficult decade, teaching in general, and school leadership in particular, has finally turned the corner," he said. "With both increased resources and a declining school population over the next decade it now appears more viable to look towards the future with such a degree of confidence."

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