1. A survey by John Howson of Education Data Surveys, published today, reveals that recruitment and retention of school leaders is becoming increasingly difficult. Professor Howson's survey covers 50% of all headships advertised in the Times Educational Supplement during the period September 2000 to May 2001. For deputy headships the survey covers some 55% of all posts advertised during the same period. Assistant heads were covered by the survey but as yet too few posts have been advertised to draw any conclusions.
2. Inadequate pay is not the only factor, but it is a crucial issue. NAHT and SHA have submitted a substantial salary claim to the School Teachers' Review Body. They have stressed the increasing difficulties in recruiting high qualityleaders, the inadequacies of the current pay structure, the inability of governing bodies to reward school leaders for their increased responsibilities and the lack of any opportunity for governing bodies to offer salary enhancement where they wish to retain school leaders.
3. School leaders' salaries have fallen significantly behind those earned by senior staff in jobs of a comparable size in the industrial and service sectors.
In 1999, Hay Management Consultants evaluated the size of headteachers' jobs and compared them with jobs of similar size in some 425 industrial and service organisations which also use the same Hay methodology. These organisations include many top 100 FTSE companies plus health service trusts, police forces and local authorities. Salary information from Hay for 2001 shows that salaries lag well behind those of senior staff in comparable jobs.
Comparisons between the average salaries earned by heads and those received by comparable job holders in the industrial and service sectors show that school leaders are significantly underpaid.
Examples of shortfalls are as follows:
%Average Salary of Heads
£Salary received by Industrial & Service Sectors comparable jobs
Small Primary School23%35,10043,300
Medium Primary School28%38,70049,400
Large Primary School18%42,80050,500
Very Large Secondary School15%69,70080,300
David Hart, general secretary NAHT said:
'The time has come for the School Teachers' Review Body to value the jobs of school leaders properly in salary terms. The crucial role played by senior management in schools is long overdue for recognition. Recruitment will continue to deteriorate. Retention will become more difficult and the quality of applicants will suffer, unless there is a substantial increase in the pay of our members. The government must stop relying heavily on performance related bonuses and start supporting decent basic salaries for those undertaking one of the most accountable jobs in the public sector.'
John Dunford, general secretary SHA said:
'Too many school leadership posts have to be readvertised, because fewer people are prepared to put themselves forward. A substantial pay rise is an important factor in attracting more people to headship and this needs to be in line with salaries in comparable jobs.
'Over-accountability is also an important factor in dissuading people from applying for headship. With yet more league tables announced last week, the government shows little sign of understanding this.'
Professor Howson, Education Data Surveys said:
'This is our seventh survey and we have commented before on a picture of declining interest, dwindling numbers of applications and smaller short lists. It is depressing to find that this year's Report continues to confirm this trend for both headships and deputy head posts.'
- Virtually 30% of advertisements for headships were from schools that had failed to fill their headship vacancy at the first attempt and were re-advertising. This is a 7% increase on last year's figures.
- Just over 30% of the vacancies were created by headteachers retiring prematurely. This is an increase of some 8% on previous years.
- Nearly 60% of schools received 5 or fewer applications. This is an increase of 14% on last year. The number of applications are running at dangerously low levels.
- The average short-list was some 3 candidates. Only 1% of schools could short-list more than 6.
- 62% of schools not making an appointment cited the quality of applicants and 65% the lack of applicants as reasons for failure to appoint.
- 22% of headships were re-advertisements, an increase of 6% on last year's figures.
- 29% of heads left their post early.
- Secondary headships on average attracted under 19 applications each.
SPECIAL SCHOOL HEADSHIPS
- Nearly 40% of schools were not able to appoint first time around. This is some 20% higher than in previous years. One third of the heads leaving went prematurely.
- Average number of application forms received was barely 6 per school. Short-lists averaged 3 per school.
- Most of the schools that failed to make an appointment cited lack of applicants or quality of applicants as reasons.
PRIMARY DEPUTY HEADSHIPS
- 25% of posts had to be re-advertised.
- Early retirement remains a major reason for the departure of primary deputy heads.
- An average deputy head post in a primary school attracts barely 6 applicants. This trend is getting worse year by year.
- The average short-list was barely 3 candidates which is down on last year.
SECONDARY DEPUTY HEADSHIPS
- 19% of posts are re-advertised, a 9% increase on last year.
- 20% of secondary schools received 10 or fewer applications for deputy headship posts. This is double the figure recorded last year.
SPECIAL SCHOOL DEPUTY HEADSHIPS
- Nearly 30% of schools were unable to make an appointment first time around.
- 64% of special schools received 5 or fewer applications, an increase of 15% on last year.
- Short-lists were barely 3 candidates per school.
- All schools not making an appointment cited quality of applicants and lack of applications as reasons for not making an appointment.