Should parents hold the power to sack headteachers?
According to the charity that sets up free schools, parents should have the power to ensure the sacking of ‘weak’ head teachers. The New Schools Network believes that parents should have the rights to enforce intervention if they believe a school is failing. Such powers could see parents ordering schools to become an academy, outside of local authority. But is this wise?
According to the New Schools Network director, Nick Timothy, parents of school children should be allowed more choice, something that free schools are best placed to provide. “There needs to be more accountability in the system so parents can get the change they want when a local school is failing. We believe the ‘parental trigger’ will be an important legal right for parents and a way of driving up standards in schools that aren’t performing well”. Mr Timothy continued to state that there are too few places at good schools in England, where one in six primary pupils and one in four secondary pupils attend schools that are labelled as failing by Ofsted. 1 in 10 families are also believed not to get their first choice school and more than 50,000 children were allocated schools that weren’t even in their parent’s top 3 choices.
However the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) believes the New Schools Network’s plan is ‘counterproductive’ as headteachers were already ‘stringently accountable’. General Secretary Russel Hobby claimed that heads were already under enormous pressure “to the extent that we are struggling to get people to do the job”. The General Secretary of the NAHT believes that “Looking for new ways to sack headteachers is hugely counterproductive and an appalling use of the New School Network’s time. School leadership is not a popularity contest; you must sometimes make difficult decisions when you are improving a school”. Mr Hobby continued to say that if this procedure was in place now some of Britain’s best headteachers would be out of a job.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) support Mr Hobby in his claim, and believe the proposal doesn’t merit serious consideration. The Deputy General Secretary of the NUT, Kevin Courtney continued to say that “schools are already subject to multiple accountability measures, such as Ofsted inspections, which will often lead to heads leaving schools if deemed required”. One of the biggest issues facing schools currently is the difficulty of recruiting teachers and head teachers, and Mr Courtney believes if a politician were foolish enough to implement this proposal, they would be making the situation a lot worse.
The Department for Education (DfE) has already said it plans to introduce two new measures which will try to intervene in failing schools and to properly tackle schools that are coasting with more hast. The DfE Spokesperson continued to state “while we already have in place a robust system to deal with school complaints, we take all parents’ concerns seriously and routinely pass them on to the relevant bodies.”
What do you think? Should parents have the power to fire the headteacher of their children’s schools? Or is this putting too much power in parents who potentially don’t understand the system? Will anyone really want to become a headteacher, with this proposal in place? Have your say here…