The Department Of Education (DfE) has been concerned for some years over replacing retiring head teachers. The normal promotional path seen for deputy heads is under-subscribed due to their perception of the stress and bureaucracy involved with the job. Consequently many head teacher positions remain unfilled for some considerable time to the ultimate detriment of the school. But now the DfE want to lower the entry qualifications for Head teachers at a time when they want to increase the qualifications for teachers.
The reluctance of recruits involves the content seen in the modern role of head teacher. The combination of business manager, administrator, man manager, disciplinarian and teaching resource planer can faze the strongest applicant. These key performance indicators almost sideline what should be the focal element of the job, teaching. The wise owl of the school’s teaching resources should be naturally identified as the role model for the whole teaching staff. The head teacher should manage, inspire and encourage the teaching manifest in way the up and coming teacher can be encouraged, the bad teacher retrained or removed.
The current role of business manager handled by heads is a strident development for which many do not have a developed aptitude. Much of the business content could handed over to the enlarged role of Bursar or financial director, who could operating over several schools. This would allow heads to resume being teaching supremo. But Michael Gove and the DfE appear to think otherwise. At one end of the scale they are concerned over that the minimum entry qualification for teachers believing this should be set at a 2:2 degree to reflect the progress shown in Singapore and Finland where a masters or a 2:1 degree respectively is required in the subject area to be taught.
So if this is the laudable policy to improve our teaching standards why is the Educational Secretary now playing games with the qualification standard at the pinnacle of teaching by lowering the standards in the head teacher’s role? Concerns have been raised by school leaders over what is seen as a retrograde step. They also believe the move will achieve little to improve the morale of many teachers. Once again the DfE seems to be disconnected with the very people it sets out to convince at a time when the UK schooling standards must improve to match world standards.