Information

Headteachers Recruitment and Retention Working Group minutes: January 2022

Minutes from the first meeting of the Headteachers Recruitment and Retention Working Group held on 28 January 2022.



 

Attendees and apologies

Attendees

  • Laurence Findlay, Association of Directors of Education Scotland (Chair)
  • Archie Glen, Voice/Community
  • Barbara Coupar, Scottish Catholic Education Service
  • Fearghal Kelly, Scottish Government 
  • Greg Dempster, Association of Heads and Deputes Scotland
  • Jim Thewliss, School Leaders Scotland
  • Lesley Whelan, Education Scotland
  • Lorna Mcdonald, Scottish Government (for item 6 only)
  • Lorraine McBride, Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Nik James, NASUWT
  • Seamus Searson, Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association
  • Simon Cameron, COSLA
  • Victoria Smith, General Teaching Council for Scotland

Apologies

  • Dougie Atkinson, Voice/Community

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Laurence welcomed colleagues to the meeting and thanked them for giving their time to join this reformed working group. He stressed the importance of this topic given the current challenges some Local Authorities are facing in terms of recruiting and retaining headteachers. 

Background and purpose of the group

Laurence drew attention to the SBTE paper included as background and briefly outlined the purpose of reforming this working group. 

Remit and membership

The group discussed the draft remit and membership paper. In terms of membership, group members agreed that it would be helpful to expand the group to include representation from a practicing secondary headteacher, Universities and an additional Scottish Government officer. The group is keen to also set up reference groups to sense check actions with. It is proposed that three reference groups are set up for Principal Teachers, Depute Headteachers and Headteachers.

 Action 1.1: Group members to submit suggested names for a secondary headteacher representative to join the group and possible members of the reference groups to FK by 18 February. 

Action 1.2: LW to seek a possible representative from Universities to join the group.

Action 1.3: FK to seek an SG colleague to join the group to make links across related work such as the review of job sizing. 

In terms of the draft remit, group members stressed the following points: 

  • the importance of referring to system resilience and making links to the Covid-19 recovery plan
  • the role of system supports for headteacher wellbeing and making links so the education workforce support package
  • the need to be clear on the incentives and disincentives of being a school leader and providing advice on these to SBTE and SEC in terms of what needs to be addressed
  • the potential for the group to track the real world implementation of Into headship

Action 1.4: FK to review the draft remit in light of the points made by group members. 

Action Plan

Laurence introduced the draft action plan included in the remit. He stressed that this was prepared as a starter for ten and is likely to be quite dated given the length of time which has passed since drafting. The action plan will also need to be revised as a result of the discussion at item 3. 

Group members provided the following feedback on the draft action plan:

  • an action plan approach would be helpful to ensure that the group makes progress where it can
  • it would be helpful to add the development of a group position statement as a specific action
  • the current layout of three headings and numbers implies prioritisation – this is worth reviewing

Some of the actions are interconnected and require to be completed in a particular sequence. It would be worth considering how best to represent this, i.e. through a matrix approach. 

Once finalised, it would be helpful to sense check this plan against the reference groups discussed at item 3 and with SBTE. 

Action 1.5: FK to review the action plan based on the feedback received and circulate to group members as soon as possible. 

Action 1.6: Group members to provide feedback on the revised action plan to FK by 11 March. Group members are asked to consider which actions they could lead on when providing feedback. 

Into headship

Laurence introduced the background to this paper by sharing his own experiences of headship preparation qualifications and his involvement in the recent reaccreditation of Into Headship. He then invited Fearghal and Lesley to provide an overview before opening up the discussion with group members. 

The following points were raised by the group in relation to the Into Headship paper:

  • there is a primary/secondary divide in terms of demand for the Into Headship programme. A higher proportion of secondary teachers are coming forward to participate than primary, whereas more primary participants are required due to the relative number of headteacher posts
  • there is a rural dimension to this issue as recruitment to rural headteacher posts is more of a challenge
  • headteacher preparation is a system-wide responsibility. Into Headship is not outwith the system, it’s of the system and should be seen as a strength. What level of support is available pre and post Into Headship as well as during the programme?
  • there is a need for a clarity of language around the Into Headship programme and the Standard for Headship. For example, we need to ensure that when headteacher posts are being advertised they are advertised as SfH being required, not Into Headship being the requirement
  • in terms of equalities, EQIAs have been completed for the Into Headship programme and the SfH regulations, however it would be helpful to better understand these issues through research. A local consideration of equalities issues might be beneficial. 
  • there is a need to review the programme from both a system and individual perspective
  • education Scotland are in the process of commissioning research to review the Into Headship programme and re-establishing a Strategic Oversight Group
  • there is an issue relating to the number of acting headteachers who are currently undertaking the programme, particularly in primary
  • there is a need to explore the policy position relating to Into Headship as the sole route to SfH for teachers in Scotland and how this relates to the equivalency process for headteachers coming from outwith Scotland.
  • there is a need to consider the role of the headteacher and how this relates to SfH. The role is becoming more complex – should we be expecting so much of headteachers? 
  • the group could develop a recommendation for headteacher development for SBTE

GD asked for more information regarding the reference in the paper to SNCT. 

Action 1.7: FK to seek more information relating to pay conservation from the SNCT handbook.

Action 1.8: FK to review the draft action plan in light of the discussion around Into Headship. 

Data pack

Laurence provided the background to, and an overview of, the data pack paper which had been shared as a draft with group members. The group was asked to comment on the usefulness of the data included and the timing of when it should be shared with Local Authorities and other stakeholders. 

The following points were raised:

  • whilst Local Authorities should already have much of this information for their own workforce, it is still useful to have the data summarised in this way to help identify barriers at a national level.
  • it would be helpful if all data sets included a primary/secondary sectoral split
  • it would be helpful to include the numbers of participants on the Into Headship programme who are currently in acting headteacher posts
  • GD suggested that in the second table it would be helpful to add a third column to show the expected numbers completing the Into Headship programme  in coming years, based on current cohorts. He also asked if the numbers in paragraph 14 accounted for headteachers moving age band. GD also offered to have a further additional discussion around the data paper if helpful
  • there were questions raised around the narrative associated with the ethnic diversity data. It depends how you read the data. The real issue here is the lack of ethnic minority teachers rather than specifically the number progressing into leadership roles.
  • it was asked if more data could be added around attrition rates from the Into Headship programme and how many years post-Into Headship headteachers were leaving

Action 1.9: SG to review the data paper in light of the feedback received then put it out to Local Authorities and other stakeholders as soon as possible. When putting it out SG to seek feedback on the usefulness of the data. 

Any other business

None

Future meetings

Meetings to be quarterly, however it was agreed that the second meeting should be sooner and ideally before the next meeting of SBTE. It was agreed that Friday mornings are suitable for group members. 

Action 1.10: FK to find out when the next meeting of SBTE is planned for.

Action 1.11: FK to circulate a doodle poll to seek a date for the next meeting of the group. 

Action log

  • action 1.1: Group members to submit suggested names for a secondary headteacher representative to join the group and possible members of the reference groups to FK by 18 February. 
  • action 1.2: LW to seek a possible representative from Universities to join the group
  • action 1.3: FK to seek an SG colleague to join the group to make links across related work such as the review of job sizing
  • action 1.4: FK to review the draft remit in light of the points made by group members
  • action 1.5: FK to review the action plan based on the feedback received and circulate to group members as soon as possible 
  • action 1.6: Group members to provide feedback on the revised action plan to FK by 11 March. Group members are asked to consider which actions they could lead on when providing feedback
  • action 1.7: FK to seek more information relating to pay conservation from the SNCT handbook
  • action 1.8: FK to review the draft action plan in light of the discussion around Into Headship
  • action 1.9: SG to review the data paper in light of the feedback received then put it out to Local Authorities and other stakeholders as soon as possible. When putting it out SG to seek feedback on the usefulness of the data
  • action 1.10: FK to find out when the next meeting of SBTE is planned for
  • action 1.11: FK to circulate a doodle poll to seek a date for the next meeting of the group
     

Contact

Email: Fearghal.Kelly@gov.scot

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