Teach First

Three charities announce plans to transform school leadership by 2022

Embargo 00:01 Fri 11 November

A report from three education leadership organisations – The Future Leaders Trust, Teaching Leaders and Teach First – suggests we will need up to 19,000 more school leaders (heads, deputy heads and assistant heads) in England by 2022 unless the sector can support more teachers and leaders to take on these roles.

Read the full report (PDF)

The report, The School Leadership Challenge: 2022, was compiled to investigate the extent and causes of the current challenges in school leadership development, progression and retention. It is the first England-wide view of the problem and it outlines solutions the three charities will pursue to address the challenge.
The report predicts that the need for more leaders may be caused by a number of likely factors, including: growth of MATs, an increase in pupil numbers and school leaders retiring or leaving early.
The three organisations propose to expand their existing work to develop school leaders and explore new solutions to tackle these predicted challenges.
Teaching Leaders and The Future Leaders Trust, who have recently merged and will be launching their new organisation on 22 November, deliver leadership development programmes in challenging schools. They have worked with over 4,000 school leaders in almost 2,000 schools in England, and will soon be working with almost 2,000 leaders each year. Teach First recruits high-potential graduates and career changers into teaching in order to build a movement in classrooms, schools and across society to end educational inequality.
James Toop, CEO Designate of the merging Teaching Leaders/The Future Leaders Trust, said:
"Great school leadership is essential for improving school performance and children’s life chances, especially in deprived areas of England. We have worked closely with key partners – from individual schools to the Department for Education – to develop great leaders but this report is a challenge for us to do more. We must develop more leaders who are committed to educational equality and excellence, from middle leaders to academy trust CEOs. We need to ensure systematic leadership development is normal in every school so every child can achieve."
The potential challenge is likely to be more acute for schools in coastal, rural and deprived areas of England, especially the Opportunity Areas recently identified by the government. Schools serving the most disadvantaged children make up 40% of all schools in England but may face half of the leadership shortage.
Brett Wigdortz OBE, Founder and CEO of Teach First said:
"For the first time, this report provides a comprehensive, national picture of the scale and nature of the school leadership problem. Schools facing the greatest challenges – such as those in deprived areas – need strong leaders to drive forward improvements, but it is these areas where the problem is more acute. We are proud to have placed 10,000 teachers since 2003, with 244 now in senior leadership positions including 26 headteachers."
Challenges are already present, with many schools struggling to attract high quality applicants. The report found that challenges include: potential applicants not being effectively incentivised to apply; recruitment and placement practice being inconsistent; limited leadership development opportunities and leaders not getting the support that would keep them in role.
The report says that schools are spending thousands of pounds on recruitment campaigns and this is increasing as they seek to attract good applicants. Up to £200 million is spent by schools on recruitment each year, yet according to a NAHT survey covering 200 leadership roles, over 30% of adverts for headteacher positions in 2015 received no applications.
Despite this news, the report finds there is a large pool of talented potential leaders, particularly among groups currently underrepresented in leadership roles. While only 25% of classroom teachers are white and over the age of 45, this group makes up 65% of school leaders.
The report makes four recommendations to help develop talented leaders from within the classroom as well as bring talented leaders into the education system in the first place:
  • Develop a new generation of school leaders by supporting career progression;
  • Explore expanding the pool of candidates for non-teaching executive roles to those outside the profession;
  • Support leaders more effectively and provide clear career pathways;
  • Build positive perceptions of school leadership to encourage more teachers to step up.
Teaching Leaders,The Future Leaders Trust and Teach First are committed to taking action on the report’s findings, to develop an action plan with partners across the sector and other industries to create a movement of leaders committed to raising the attainment of every child.
For more contact Euan Holloway on 0203 841 8483 or press@teachfirst.org.uk.
For more on Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders contact matthew.crowder@future-leaders.org.uk or call 020 3116 6386.
Notes to editors
The Future Leaders Trust and Teaching Leaders have recently merged and will be launching their new organisation on 22 November. We deliver leadership development programmes for all levels of school leadership, from aspiring middle leaders to chief executives of multi-academy trusts. We focus on schools experiencing the greatest challenge, in deprived areas in England, as we believe
that every child deserves a great education and equal life chances, regardless of their background. Together we have worked with over 4,000 school leaders in almost 2,000 schools in England, identifying and developing talented school leaders and supporting 170 people to headship.
Teach First believe that disadvantage should not determine destiny. Our vision is that no child's educational success should be limited by their socio-economic background. Our charity invests in the power of people to change the lives of children from low income backgrounds by: finding and developing great people to teach and lead in schools facing the greatest challenges; increasing the
attainment and aspirations of pupils and their access to higher education and employment; and building a movement of teachers, school leaders, social entrepreneurs, policy makers and business people who are committed to ending educational inequality.
Researchers interviewed over 70 individuals with different insights from across the education sector, including headteachers, academy trust CEOs and charity heads. They used Edubase’s School and Basic Information List (2016), the Department for Education School Workforce Survey (2015) and the Office of National Statistics’ Subnational Population Projections, Local Authorities in England (2016).
Analytical support was provided by McKinsey & Company.