21 October 2014, The Tablet

Catholic head teachers call for more support as recruitment dries up

Catholic headteachers must be offered better support if faith schools are to combat a dramatic fall in the number of people applying for senior roles, new findings reveal.

Researcher Janet Goodall, who is leading a survey on educational leadership for the University of Bath, said that Catholic head teachers to whom she had spoken said they needed better mentoring.

“There are additional expectations from a head teacher at a faith school – they need to be a faith leader themselves. And they may well need extra support to be able to fulfil that role,” she said.

All schools are experiencing difficulties in recruiting heads, with 40 per cent of primary and 25 per cent of secondary headships needing to be re-advertised in 2011, the last year for which figures are available. However the problem is worse in faith schools: in 2009/10 there was a re-advertisement rate of 43 per cent in Anglican schools and 61 per cent of Catholic schools.

Ms Goodall, who lectures in educational leadership and management, said she would be inviting middle managers – deputy heads and department heads – at faith schools to complete an online survey, and would also be interviewing existing heads about the factors that could have made it easier for them to take on a leadership role.

The result of her research could, she said, be a recommendation that improved support networks are put in place to give middle managers the help they needed to embark on a future as a head. To complete the survey, see http://www.survey.bath.ac.uk/swarcs.

To contact Ms Goodall, email [email protected]

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