Applications for top headteacher posts can be “really badly completed”, according to a school governors’ leader.
Many schools in England are finding it “very difficult” to recruit headteachers, and that applications can be littered with basic grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, The Independent reports.
At a time when Michael Gove hopes to revitalise schools with high-calibre heads, figures show that one in four schools are experiencing problems in recruiting senior staff. Faith schools (especially Catholic), small rural schools and those ranked as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted find it especially difficult.
The problem may be exacerbated by the quality of applications, with the National Governors’ Association claiming applications from experienced teachers are often “really badly completed”, with some applicants even spelling the name of the school incorrectly. “They should check their grammar,” chief executive Emma Knights said. “You don’t expect a school leader to be told to put the apostrophe in the right place, or their capital letters in the right place, or they’ve got the school name right.”
Other reasons behind the problems in recruiting headteachers may be the need for heads in faith schools to practice the faith, or the “high stakes nature” of the role: “We are hearing more stories of heads who appear to have walked away after Ofsted reports or exam results and a deputy might feel ‘I would rather stay where I am,’” Ms. Knights added.
ASCL has recognised that filling headship posts is a problem in some of England’s top schools: “Poorly drafted applications would be a symptom of that rather than the cause of the problem,” said general secretary Brian Lightman. “With the new, tougher Ofsted framework, inspectors are focusing more forensically on the quality of teaching and therefore some outstanding schools will find it a challenge to retain their outstanding grade. Potential headteachers of the necessary calibre, who certainly would be able to complete applications accurately, will know this.”
How important is it for future headteachers to be able to spell? Share your views with us!