Headteacher Recruitment and Retention Working Group: 21 November 2022

Minutes of the Headteacher Recruitment and Retention Working Group held on 21 November 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Laurence Findlay, Association of Directors of Education Scotland (Chair)

  • Aleksandra Jonca, Scottish Government

  • Jim Thewliss, School Leaders Scotland

  • Zoè Robertson, Scottish Council of Deans of Education

  • Alison Weatherston, Education Scotland

  • Seamus Searson, Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association

  • John Devine, Breadalbane Academy

  • David Smith, EIS

  • Sharon McLellan. AHDS

  • Simon Cameron, CoSLA

  • Lesley Whelan, Education Scotland

  • Victoria Smith, General Teaching Council for Scotland

  • Nik James, NASUWT

  • Jen Crocket, ADE


  • Angela Felvus, Scottish Government

  • Stuart Robb, Scottish Government

  • Shagufta Nasar. SAMEE

  • Lindsey Stanley

  • Sabrina McCready, Inverclyde Academy

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions

The Chair welcome members to this first meeting and presented David Smith, who is joining the group on behalf of EIS. The apologies of the members have been acknowledged. 

The Chair confirmed the remit of the group with a new member and asked for the terms of the reference to be shared.

The members requested that the previous meeting's minutes, including the list of apologised parties and the page 3 error, be changed. 

The Chair said that due to a last-minute apology, Item 4 of the agenda will need to be deferred until the next meeting. 

Issues discussed  

The Chair said that the recruitment of headteachers has been one of the main issues facing the education system in recent years. 

The Chair encouraged participants to provide updates on the ongoing actions  from the action plan. 

The future leadership planning has been acknowledged as playing a significant effect in the hiring and retention of the heads. 

It has been acknowledged that the publication of Into Headship Report will give Local Authorities a clear picture on the areas where the lack of the consistency in delivery of the Into Headship Programme has direct impact on recruitment of headteachers. 

Lesley Whelan offered to share the Into Headship report with the group members. 

The update provided by the Scottish Government on the impact of use the social media by the parents on mental health of the Headteachers and School Staff has met a slight criticism by the members.  

The members emphasised that the retention of headteachers by schools is directly impacted by the harassment of teachers on social media. 

The Chair asked the members whether the letter to Connect would be a beneficial step in highlighting this issue. It has been accepted that this kind of action would not have the desired outcome because the important message needs to reach a larger system. The Chair requested input from the members regarding the joint leadership research report. Some participants acknowledged that they were unable to read the report and its findings due to the report's format and lack of access to the papers. 

The Chair requested the report to be reissued in different format. 

The Chair confirmed he will write a letter to joint SNCT secretaries about the joined leadership and the job sizing. 

Lesley Whelan confirmed the incorporation of Joint Leadership into Pathways would be beneficial  

The presentation of the issues raised by this group will be made by the Chair at a future Scottish Education Council meeting. 

It was agreed that the job sizing review process has to be progressed as quickly as feasible and that more extensive conversations on the reform agenda and the accessibility of extra funding for the system is required. 




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