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England's schools 'need 19,000 more school leaders by 2022'

11/11/2016 Joanna

Up to 19,000 more school leaders - including heads, deputy heads and assistant heads - may be needed in England by 2022, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by a group of charities including Teaching Leaders and The Future Leaders Trust, has examined current challenges in school leadership development, progression and retention, finding that more needs to be done to help teachers and leaders step into these roles.

Important factors such as rising pupil numbers and a growth in the amount of multi-academy trusts are creating a need for additional leaders at a time when many experienced heads are choosing to retire or leave early. This is a particularly pressing issue for schools in coastal, rural and deprived areas of England.

Issues that may currently be holding back efforts to fill these leadership roles include potential applicants not being effectively incentivised to apply, as well as inconsistencies in recruitment and placement practices and a lack of leadership development opportunities.

As such, the report highlighted a number of recommendations to address the problem, including greater career progression support for the next generation of school leaders and the potential introduction of non-teaching executive roles to help fill the gap.

It was also suggested that more needs to be done to support leaders and provide clear career pathways, while building positive perceptions of school leadership to encourage teachers to make the step up.

James Toop, chief executive-designate of the combined Teaching Leaders/Future Leaders Trust organisation, said: "We must develop more leaders who are committed to educational equality and excellence, from middle leaders to academy trust chief executive officers. We need to ensure systematic leadership development is normal in every school so every child can achieve."

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