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What happens if we don't get a head teacher?

(19 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Sun 09-Mar-14 18:21:58

Our primary school's longstanding head teacher is retiring at the end of this academic year and we seem to be having trouble getting applicants for the post. Our deputy head is leaving as well and we have no one obvious who could step forward and take over.
What will happen if no one suitable is found? Has anyone had children in a school with this problem? What happened to the school?

TamerB Sun 09-Mar-14 19:28:38

They will get an acting one from outside if you have no deputy to do it. It is very common-people don't want the job these days-I am guessing you are a small school. People want a work/life balance.

FiveHoursSleep Sun 09-Mar-14 19:35:51

No, we are quite large for a primary school- recently amalgamated and expanding to 4 form entry in 2015.
The school has been ofsteded good/ outstanding in the past and we are in 'nice' area of NW Greater London.
Parents are worried that our children will suffer academically if we don't have a head although the teachers are good and most are pretty experienced.

Mushypeasandchipstogo Sun 09-Mar-14 19:44:09

They will possibly get a recently retired one to step in, possibly part time, until a permanent one is found. This happened at my DCs school and the school's standards slipped no end. I ended up taking them out of that school.

bigTillyMint Sun 09-Mar-14 19:47:44

IME of inner London schools, the LA will ship in an acting HT until a permanent one can be recruited. Sometimes the acting HT will decide to stay.

FiveHoursSleep Sun 09-Mar-14 21:19:30

Mushypeas This is what I am worried about. Two of my children will be at secondary school next year but we will still have two in Primary and I'm concerned they will not have the same level of education my older two had sad

BabyMummy29 Sun 09-Mar-14 21:28:25

I have been in a school with an acting head - one from within the school, one from outwith for 3 and a half years.

Awful situation - hope yours gets sorted out fairly quickly

Mushypeasandchipstogo Sun 09-Mar-14 21:29:29

Sorry OP I can only say what happened in my DC school. It was a very small, rural primary. You might be more fortunate with a larger school !

Pooka Sun 09-Mar-14 21:33:30

It's a nightmare recruiting heads at the moment. I know of three schools (including ours) that has had issues with head/deputy recruitment.

Personally I think it's a massively stressful job with ever increasing targets, workload, responsibilities and accountability and so I'm not surprised at all.

One recent example is a junior school. They've recruited the head of the infants school as a kind of executive head of both, with plans to upgrade the existing deputies to cover gaps.

ReallyTired Sun 09-Mar-14 21:41:32

I imagine that someone from the senior managment team will be acting head. When our school went through a similar senario one of our reception teachers (who was head of foundation) stepped up to the plate. She had support from an executive head at near by school.

It would be lying to say that your school is in a good situaiton, but its not as dire as you think.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 09-Mar-14 21:46:46

Legally you have to have a head / principal, even if it's shared with another school or parachuted in by the LA for a couple of terms.

steppemum Sun 09-Mar-14 22:09:24

There are a number of options, eg:

1. ask someone in school to step, up, permanently or temporarily. This is harder in your case as the deputy is leaving, but in such a big school, there will be several people with senior management experience.
2. Import temporary head
3. Partner the school with another local one and ask the head of the other school to be head for both. This is becoming more common, and can lead to 2 schools becoming federated, with an overall head and then full time deputies running the individual schools on a day to day basis.

It can take more than one round of interviews to find someone, so don't give up just yet.
When I started teaching we had an acting head who was very good, it isn't always a bad move.

TamerB Sun 09-Mar-14 22:13:31

There has been trouble recruiting Heads of primary schools for some time- it is hardly surprising, not many people want the job.

lainiekazan Mon 10-Mar-14 10:42:05

When this happened at dd's school, the county parachuted in an experienced newly-retired schools inspector to act as head. He did three days a week, but that was fine as luckily the more senior teachers handled the day-to-day stuff.

It took over two years to find the right head teacher.

As a governor, I undertook recruitment of head/deputy head training, and the point that was made again and again was that it is incredibly difficult to get rid of the wrong head, so never feel you have to settle for second best.

KingscoteStaff Mon 10-Mar-14 17:24:13

One Outstanding school near us got two applicants for the Headship...

Littlefish Mon 10-Mar-14 19:42:57

We've been incredibly lucky then, and recently had over 10 applicants for the headship at my school. Interviews are soon, so I hope they manage to appoint someone good.

KnittingRocks Mon 10-Mar-14 19:50:56

Apparently Outstanding schools find it much harder to recruit heads as they feel under enormous pressure to maintain the standards set by the previous incumbent.

TamerB Mon 10-Mar-14 22:27:41

It is much easier to take a failing school and improve it that have an outstanding one and have to stay there.

cazzyg Tue 11-Mar-14 13:43:31

We have an acting head at the moment. The previous head retired last summer and the post has now been advertised for the third time.

The other options that have been considered are having an executive head covering more than one school either with a secondary or a primary school.

On the positive side, I think the acting head has been great for the school - a breath of fresh air.

Recruiting heads is an issue nationally, sadly it's a very difficult job now and I don't think the salary is in Keri g with the level of responsibility and stress that a headteacher faces.

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