ADES Report On Headteacher Recruitment

Report on research findings and the current challenges to Headteacher recruitment.

2 Statistical Background

2.1 Age Profile

Appendix B provides a broad illustration of the age of the existing headteacher workforce. While it is not unexpected that HTs are the amongst the oldest members of staff working in schools, in some parts of the country the number of headteachers over the age of 55 appears to be high. Given that from 2018/19 all new headteachers will be required to hold the Standard for Headship before being appointed it will be important for local authorities to have a sufficient pool of teachers qualified and ready to take-up headteacher posts. This information will also be helpful in predicting the number of headteachers teacher education institutions will be required to train over the coming years. Each local authority will of course require to interpret this information for themselves.

2.2 Untapped Potential

The 2015 teacher census ( Appendix C) shows that there are 411 ( FTE) teachers who hold the Standard for Headship but are not currently working as headteachers. Given the pressure on headteacher recruitment and the forthcoming need to ensure newly appointed heads hold the Standard, it is at least worthy of further consideration whether some members of this group might be encouraged to apply for headteacher posts. It may also be worthwhile for the Scottish College for Educational Leadership ( SCEL) to provide this group with a professional learning opportunity that would give them the confidence to apply for HT posts.

2.3 Flattening Structures

The McCrone Report and subsequent TP21 (2001) reduced the number of promoted posts in schools by, for example, removing grades such as Assistant Principal Teacher. More recently many local authorities have moved to reduce the number of principal teachers in secondary schools in preference of the cross-subject faculty structure. The flattening of the career structure and the reduction in promoted posts is potentially undermining the sector's ability to develop teachers who have the skills, confidence and experience to move into senior management roles. As many teachers have never had the opportunity to make a first step in the promotion ladder ( e.g. classroom to Principal Teacher), then the cohort of experienced managers is reduced. Arguably this problem is exacerbated by the removal of Chartered Teacher further to the McCormac Report where an alternate career progression route has been removed.

When looking at the number of promoted posts in primary, secondary and special schools since 2010 ( Appendix D) then it is clear that the number of promoted posts has declined. The proportion of teachers in all promoted posts has declined slightly (27.3% to 24.8%). A striking statistic in that the number of promoted posts in primary schools has fallen to

19.6%. Overall the issue does not manifest itself in the census data quite in the way that has been suggested by some although a further drop in promoted posts can be expected in 2016 when existing pay conservation arrangements end. It is the case however that there are fewer promoted posts available in teaching and the lack of stepping stones to senior management may undermine the ability to recruit skilled and willing teachers to headship posts.


Email: Christine Willson,

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