Ofsted chief: Headteacher recruitment is shambolic

Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has described the system for recruiting school leaders as “shambolic”.

Sir Michael, a former headteacher, has said schools should identify good teachers from the start of their careers and start preparing them for leadership roles.

Speaking at a pupil premium summit in London this week, Sir Michael said this was particularly important because there were “not enough” good school leaders.

“The way we appoint headteachers is shambolic at the moment,” he said. “It needs to be much more professional and we need to track people from basically the early years of the profession all the way through into headship, to be much more directive.”

He said the gap between the attainment of pupils from deprived backgrounds and that of other pupils would only be closed by “good schools led by good leaders who know what to do,” adding: “There are not enough of them.”

Sir Michael repeated his call for a system of “national service for teachers” in which good teachers with two to three years of classroom experience would sign a contract with the government which would allow it to place them in a struggling school elsewhere in the country.

“The quid pro quo is, [the] incentives would have to be good, whatever they happen to be. And [the government would] undertake to professionally develop that teacher into leadership as soon as possible.”

Also at the conference, Sir Michael said school improvement was “not about using pupil premium money to employ additional staff and lots of teaching assistants, learning mentors and psychotherapists.”

He said: “It’s about employing good teachers who can teach across the ability range.”

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