Research by the National Governors' Association (NGA), the Future Leaders Trust (TFLT) and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has found that the number of executive headteachers in England is rapidly increasing even though their remit and responsibilities are still largely undefined.
The research highlights a spectrum of executive headteachers – often with varied areas of responsibility. This creates challenges across the education system by blurring lines of accountability at executive and governance levels, and potentially confusing the roles and responsibilities between leaders at individual schools and the executive headteacher overseeing them.
In the March 2016 White Paper the government stated its desire that all schools become part of a group. With executive headteachers managing on average between three to six schools, the researchers estimate that there may be a demand for between 3200 and 6700 more executive headteachers by 2022. This estimate matches the historic rate of growth – with the number of executive headteachers growing by 240% between 2010 and 2014.
The research highlights the need for the government to facilitate discussions for a sector-led definition of the role and for other networks and training and development partners to devise more formal and informal professional development for those already in post as well as aspirant executive headteachers.
The research also found that women are proportionally under-represented in executive headship compared to the proportion in traditional headship¹ and, separately, that an excellent headteacher may not necessarily be an excellent executive headteacher because the professional skills needed are different.
TFLT, NFER, and NGA set out to clarify the emerging role of executive headteacher, and explore implications for future policy, for good governance and career support.
The report is the result of longitudinal analysis of the school workforce census over a period of five years (from 2010 to 2014); over 30 interviews with executive headteachers, senior leaders and governors; and a desktop review of 30 headteacher and executive headteacher job application packs.
¹In 2014 56% of executive headteachers were female compared to 66% of traditional headteachers
Author: National Foundation for Educational Research
Author: The Future Leaders Trust
Published: 14/07/2016, by Sean Mimnagh
Last Updated: 06/11/2018, by Sean Mimnagh