Academies increase cash balances

Hard on the heels of the Treasury Select Committee’s Report, with its comments on government funding of education – see previous post on this bog – comes the 10th Annual Academy Benchmark Report from Kreston Global Kreston-Academies-Benchmark-Report-2022-Web.pdf (krestonreeves.com) This detailed report raises a set of interesting questions, and also offers pointers as to why the labour market for teachers in the secondary sector may have been so buoyant during January 2022.

The Kreston Report comments that

Once again, we are seeing record breaking in-year surpluses for MATs, whilst secondaries are showing a small increase and Primaries have fallen to 2019 levels. But this top level statistic hides the complex mix of variables giving rise to the surpluses. This result is likely to be a by-product of Covid-19 factors rather than an intentional result. The good news is that fewer Trusts are now in a cumulative deficit position and only 19% had an in-year deficit (2020: 25%).”

And

The size of the in-year surpluses has gone up to record levels; there are less Trusts making in-year deficits, there are less Trusts with cumulative deficits, free reserves are up, and cash balances are up.” (page 12).

The Kreston Report adds that: “From conversations we have had with our Academy clients many were budgeting for in-year deficits or to break even, and were on track for this to happen. “(page 11).

Now, does this mean that a lot of the cash for catch-up programmes is already sitting in secondary school bank accounts? Why wasn’t the saving on supply teachers and other budget heading immediately transferred into support for pupils?

To allow reserves to increase during the pandemic raises questions abut either a lack of congruence between values and budgets or a less than perfect understanding of financial affairs by school leaders? Surely, neither is the case. However, the increase in balances, even if unexpected, does raise some interesting questions about the relationship between decision-making and educational values.

Way back in the 1990s, when I first worked on Assessment Centres for would-be headteachers, this was an issue of concern. Those in education are good at talking, but do they always possess the skills to put their values into actions? What is the relationship between the values of school business managers and education leaders, especially when faced with challenges for which there is no rulebook?

One reason for high cash balances cited by Kreston in the report is my old bugbear, saving for future capital spending. The Kreston Report says this “Some MATs do have a strategy of accumulating funds within the central fund to meet the costs of future capital projects, so this could explain why there are sizeable balances carried forward in some cases.” (page 20) My view has always been that revenue spending should be for today’s pupils, not those of tomorrow, especially when the non-physical environment is so challenged as it has been during the pandemic.

The Kreston report concludes with some interesting benchmark data, but not, as far as I can see, anything on staff recruitment costs. In view of the amount schools can spend in this area, that seems like a curious admission not to extrapolate it from the measure where it is no doubt currently buried.

Taken together, both the Select Committee Report on future spending and the Kreston Report on past trends make for interesting reading for anyone concerned with the education of the nation’s young people.

What about Middle leaders? Is there a concern about recruitment?

When there is a mis-match between the numbers of teachers required in certain subjects to meet the identified need by schools to staff a curriculum area various strategies are used to ensure that schools can deliver their timetables. One such strategy is using teachers with less than ideal subject knowledge until a better qualified teacher can be recruited.

However, if there is a shortfall in training, what are the consequences some years later for the recruitment of middle leaders in the subject? Design and Technology makes an interesting case study that I have used before. As a subject, it regularly fails to recruit sufficient trainees to meet the government’s target, especially since the demise of most of the undergraduate routes some years ago.

The UCAS data for the end of the 2020 cycle (discussed in an earlier post) provides data on the number of trainees recruited. (I could use the DfE’s ITT Census, but as this is not a subject that features much in Teach First numbers, the UCAS data covers most trainees).

Design & TechnologyRecruited into training*After 5% wastage
2014470447
2015530504
2016405385
2017300285
2018295280
2019400380
2020615584

*Source: UCAS end of cycle for trainee numbers

The table shows the changes in recruitment over the past seven years with the figure for an assumed 5% non-completion of the course.

So how many middle leaders might be required in this subject? Using the TeachVac database, it was possible to identify some 390 promoted posts in the subject advertised by schools across England in 2020. After removing those linked to specific parts of the subject, especially food technology, where the promoted post may be as much a recruitment incentive as a real middle leadership position, there were 300 posts for middle leaders in the subject. After allowing for re-advertisements, of which it can be estimated that there were about 60 during the year, this meant around 240 likely vacancies for middle leaders of design and technology.

How long does a teacher need before being ready for middle leadership? This is not an easy question to answer. For the sake of this exercise, let’s start by assuming 5 years. Thus the training cohort of 2014 might have been in the market for middle leadership positions in 2020. Assuming 450 entered teaching, (447 rounded up), and demand was 240, this would mean nearly two teachers from that cohort for each vacancy for a middle leader.

Now followers of the labour market for teachers will know that retention is an issue. After five years of service, perhaps a third of those entering teaching are no longer teaching in state schools. So, we need to discount the 450 by a third. The new total is 315 for 240 vacancies; a much less healthier pool from which to draw middle leaders.

Fortunately, 2014 was a relatively good year for recruitment into training. What will happen when the 2017 cohort reach five years of service in 2023? Assuming the same level of wastage, there might be only around 200 teachers left from that cohort. Hopefully, demand for middle leaders will be lower, but if it is similar to the estimate of 240-250 vacancies for 2020, then looking down the road a bit, some schools are going to have a real recruitment problem in the middle years of the decade.

Solutions include persuading more from earlier cohorts to take on middle leadership, even if they were previously reluctant to do so; accelerating the newer cohorts into leadership – not possible until the 2019 and 2020 cohorts come through; merging design and technology with say, art and design where supply of middle leaders is better, into larger faculties offering a better career prospect.

Different schools will adopt different tactics, and some may also offer better salaries than in the past through larger TLR payments.

So, should there be concerns about the supply of middle leaders? I think there ought at the very least, to be some discussion about the issue, and which schools might be most affected by any possible shortages?

Teaching School Hubs: will schools be forced to use them?

Has anyone noticed the DfE vacancy site padding out the number of jobs on the site by repeating entries? It doesn’t happen with the search facility, but if you scroll through the pages, some jobs appear more than once. Today, it happened to me with the Head of Sixth Form at Burford School and the Principal at Phoenix College: there may be other examples as well.

Why was I scrolling through the DfE site? Two reasons, I wanted to see if the new Teaching School Hubs were advertising posts yet: at least one is, and I am always interested to know how TeachVac fares compared with the DfE in offering a free site to schools for their teaching posts.

After stripping out non-teaching posts from the DfE site – these include a maternity leave replacement for a cleaner and a school matron – that TeachVac doesn’t handle, the DfE comes in around 40% of TeachVac’s vacancies still within closing date. Both sites offer school a way to save cash for many ‘easy to fill’ vacancies.

The news on Teaching School Hubs https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-teaching-school-hubs-to-be-rolled-out-across-the-country was announced on Wednesday and reminds me of the Teachers’ Professional Development Centre where I worked for two years in the 1970s. Those centres had the advantage of being neutral spaces not associated with particular schools, but the disadvantage of not having pupils on site for demonstration lessons.

The DfE said in the announcement that “Each hub, all of which will be operational and helping schools from this September, will have its own defined geographical patch and will be expected to be accessible to all schools within that area, serving on average around 250 schools each.”

Now this takes me even further back to McNair and his Report, and the development of what were known as Area Training Organisations. This approach, so contrary to the Conservative’s market model approach, suggests a more controlling approach. Will schools be able to buy professional development either where they want or will they be forced to support their local Teaching School Hub? 

Will the pupils in the schools benefit from the employment of the best teachers by the Hubs or will the staff of the Hub be fully employed on professional development and initial teacher preparation?

To whom will the Hubs be responsible and will they be inspected by Ofsted or some other body set up especially for that purpose?

What is clear is that the government has so emasculated professional development in the past that some sort of national programme, backed by research, is badly needed to help support the teachers working in our schools. I hope the Hubs will also offer support to those taking a career break that want to return in the future.

The Hubs must also address the conflict between the needs around the professional development of an individual teacher and those of the schools where they work. They may not be the same.

Finally, the government must be sensitive to the fact that next year many teachers will want to recover from the effects of the pandemic and Ministers must not be surprised if teachers want a quiet year to rest and recuperate even if that means avoiding after-school professional development activities.

Leadership trends in schools- 2020

TeachVac www.teachvac.co.uk the free to use teacher vacancy site is putting together its annual reviews of the labour market for teachers in England. The first of these is on leadership turnover in schools.

Here are some of the headlines from the draft report.

  • More leadership vacancies were recorded in the primary sector during 2020, while vacancies recorded in the secondary sector during 2020 remained at a similar level to 2019.
  • In the primary sector some 1,497 head teacher vacancies were recorded. The number for the secondary sector was 387 vacancies during 2020.
  • For schools advertising during the 2019-20 school year, there was a re-advertisement rate for primary schools of 28%: for secondary school headteacher vacancies, the re-advertisement rate was lower at 23%.
  • Schools in certain regions and with other characteristics that differentiates the school from the commonplace are more likely to experience issues with headteacher recruitment.
  • There were a similar number of vacancies for deputy heads in the secondary sector during 2020 than 2019. Fewer vacancies were recorded for the primary sector.
  • Secondary schools advertised slightly more assistant head teacher vacancies during 2020 than during 2019. There were fewer vacancies recorded in the primary sector during 2020 than in 2019. 
  • Tracking leadership vacancies has become more challenging as the means of recruitment have become more diversified in nature.
  • The covid-19 pandemic had a significant effect on the senior staff labour market from April 2020 until the end of the year.

What might be the outcome of the new lockdown? As the majority of vacancies at all levels in education are for September starts in a new job the later the more senior vacancies are advertised the more pressure on vacancies for other posts. Normally, half the annual volume of headteacher adverts appear in the first three months of the year. Will that pattern be replicated this year? Perhaps it is too early to tell. Will headteachers, and especially headteachers in primary schools faced with more problems than normal and lacking the level of administrative support that their secondary school colleagues enjoy just decide enough is enough and take early retirement? Will the pay freeze make matters worse, especially if pensions still rise in line with RPI?

TeachVac will be watching these trends for senior staff turnover, along with others in the labour market. Often in the past, a rising level of house prices has been bad for senior staff recruitment in high cost housing areas as staff can move to lower cost areas, but it is challenging for staff to move into those areas without incentives. The Stamp Duty relaxation has pushed up housing prices, at least in the short-term. Will these increases have an impact on leadership turnover?

The current age profile of the teaching profession should be favourable to the appointment of senior leaders but, as this blog has pointed out in the past, there may not be enough deputy heads in the primary sector with sufficient experience to want to move onto headship at the present time.

All these trends will need monitoring carefully as 2021 unfolds.

If you want the full report or data for specific areas, please contact enquiries@oxteachserv.com

Worth a second look

Some posts on this blog deserve a second look. With nearly 1,100 posts now on the site, I don’t have a complete list, so even I am surprised when a visitor digs up a post from over seven years ago that resonates as much today as it did when originally posted.

Many of those that visit the blog today weren’t even in education, at least on the teaching side of the desk or camera, in 2013, so when it reappeared as the result of someone’s trawl through the archives, I thought I would ensure it was worth a second look to a new group of readers.

Winds of change in Manchester

Posted on 

The last two days I have been in Manchester for the SSAT Annual Conference. This is a celebration of many of the good things in school leadership. The delegates here are anything but average in their approach to education. The conference started with Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves talking about their new book: Professional Capital. In this increasingly secular age, where many head teachers are probably agnostics, it was interesting to hear Andy Hargreaves take the example of the parable of the master that leaves his servants a sum of money to use wisely in his absence and finds that two have invested while the third had just kept the money safe by burying the cash in the ground. The message of invest for progress was an interesting one.

At the same conference I participated in a panel debate about preparing teachers, and led a workshop on professional development. The following ten phrases are the ones that provided me with a framework for discussion in the workshop.

Hire exceptional people: add value.

Seek heroines and heroes: not villains and scapegoats.

Dump portmanteau careers: welcome career changers

Look for leaders of every age.

Education is a business not a market.

Sell the brand

Engage the family

Cash balances don’t educate children.

Quality assurance before quality control.

know the facts: tell the truth.

I had a good example of the last one of these while I was composing this post. I received an email that a Minister had confirmed the over allocation of ITT places was 9% this year. The fact is true, but disguises the more important information that the over allocation was in the order of 18% for secondary places, but only 6% in the primary sector.

Many of the other statements can generate discussion and some have already been aired in posts on this site. Hopefully, the remained will feature at some time in the future.

More Dunkirk than D-Day

Last March it was probably acceptable that schools had to invent their immediate responses to lockdown. After all, we were all facing situations we hadn’t expected. Much like the sudden collapse of the Allied armies in France in 1940, when faced with the Panzer Divisions assault, we muddled through and achieved more than might have been expected.

As I wrote on the 29th February in a blog post. ‘We are better equipped to deal with unforeseen events these days, whether fire, floods or pestilence; but only if we plan for them.’ I also pointed out that ‘In 1939 the country managed a mass evacuation of children from our cities under a Conservative Government.’ And I asked, ‘Does the civil service have the mentality to handle arrangements on such a scale today? After decades of a philosophy of private choice rather than public good, it may need a rethink, and quickly.’

In April, I mused that ‘Strategic thinking is still in short supply. There are group of Year 13 students, now to be assessed on their work before the outbreak that could form a useful coordinated volunteer force organised by their Sixth Form Tutor and reporting to the local hubs.

Apart from the obvious use of their talents to produce PPE on the schools’ 3D printers; sowing machines and other D&T resources they could be reducing the traffic jam of delivery vehicles clogging up suburban streets by trialling last mile cycle delivery from trans-shipment points to see how this would work. If petrol pumps are a transfer risk for the virus, we could use some as pump attendants, at least for vulnerable customers so that they could avoid touching the pumps and know that only the person serving them had handled the filling mechanism.’

Fast forward to January and we have the same level of chaos and muddle that professionals in education were faced with in March. The only change seems to be that the DfE guidance is clearer than it was in the spring.

Why did the government not use the time between March and December to plan for another lockdown. To move from the ‘make it up as you go along’ evacuation of Dunkirk to the meticulously planned D-Day assault on the Normandy beaches, backed by the deception exercise around Operation Fortitude.

Take provision of laptops and tablets. This system hasn’t worked. But nobody seems to have thought of all the reconditioned tablets sitting in small shops around the country. Even if they only lasted for a year, they might see some schools through the pandemic. Yes, I would like top of the line new equipment for those that haven’t access to any IT, but something now to start with is better than nothing until some uncertain date in the future.

Remote learning has been mostly un-coordinated and largely left to schools. This is an area where schools should have pooled knowledge and effort. It is as if no Minister has ever read Adam Smith and understood the principles of mass production over cottage-based industries. Expecting each school to reinvent the wheel is silly.

To continue the military analogy, it is as if infantry destined for the D-Day beaches were told, design your own training, and just get off the beach. The lack of a coherent middle tier that could pull MATs, diocese and local authority schools together to provide effective remote learning has frustrated both parents and young people with an outcome that hasn’t been as good as it could have been, and through no fault of teachers and school leaders.

Re-reading the ONS Report of May about risk to teachers from Covid, it was obvious, as I pointed out at the time in my blog that staff in schools, and especially in secondary schools, were classified as

‘… a group with a high possible exposure to any disease, presumably as they work close to large groups of children. In that respect, secondary school teachers interacting with many different pupils in the course of a day might been thought to have a higher potential risk factor than primary school teachers who are largely interacting with a smaller group of children each day. Of course, this is too simplistic, as it ignores the many other settings in schools from playgrounds, assemblies and meal times where all teachers can interact with large numbers of children. Primary teachers, and especially school leaders may have the added factor of interaction with parents that bring children to school and cluster at the school gate at the end of the day.’

https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/covid19relateddeathsbyoccupationenglandandwalesdeathsregistereduptoandincluding20thapril2020

This risk should have been monitored through the autumn and especially since the new variant was detected, as it was a vital piece of information in the analysis of whether schools could continue to open on site or switch to remote learning. That it has taken FOI requests and other tactics for the professional associations to secure the data is not acceptable.

The lack of either strategic planning or operational excellence in terms of the school system is a disappointment, and will no doubt eventually have political repercussions. After all, schools impact widely on all families.

update 1230 6th January. According to The Guardian the government has designated all pupils without laptops as vulnerable pupils and thus able to access schools. Well, that’s one way of solving the problem.

Enough potential school leaders?

When I wrote a blog recently about the significant level of head teacher vacancies recorded by both TeachVac and the DfE vacancy site during August, I promised to look into the possible size of the pool of school leaders able to step up to fill headships in the primary sector. (Feeling the Strain 31st August 2020)

The new arrangement for viewing the DfE Statistics of the School Workforce in November 2019 made this more of a challenge than in the past. Indeed, I have still not fathomed whether it is possible to add in age groupings as a variable in the composite table searchers are allowed to create from the data? This is an important variable in answering the question about leadership pool of talent since deputy and assistant heads in some age groups may be expected to be lacking in experience in post sufficient to consider promotion to a headship.

Even better would be details about age and length of service in post, something provided way back in the 1990s, but not seemingly available now without a specific data request. Perhaps the teacher associations might like to consider this issue in their next evidence to the Pay Review Body the STRB).

Historically, most head teachers are appointed from the ranks of deputy head teachers, although, as some small primary schools don’t have a deputy, a number of assistant heads or even teachers with a TRL have been appointed to headships in the past. More recently, deputy heads in secondary schools have been moved across to primary schools in the same Academy Trust in order to fill vacancies for primary head teacher posts.

Looking at the data for the last four years from the School Workforce Census, the number of full-time deputy heads in the primary sector has declined from 11,563 in 2017/18, to 10,729 in 2019/20. The number of part-time deputy heads during the same period has, however, increased from 1,062 to 1,236. Nevertheless, the size of the pool has not grown. This is despite the number of schools remaining almost constant during the same period, the total altering only from 17,191 to 17,178.

Assuming some 2,000 primary head teacher vacancies each year, with 25% being taken by existing head teacher changing schools, this would create a demand for 1,500 first time head teachers each year. Assuming ten per cent of the 12,000 deputy heads are too new in post to consider promotion and a further 10% are too old to be still interested in headship, the remaining 10,000 or so leaves a generous margin of possible applicants.

However, other considerations then come into play; type of school – infant, junior or primary; organisation – maintained or academy; religious affiliation or none – Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, Greek Orthodox; Sikh, Muslim; size of school – one form entry to four form entry or larger?

All these variables can affect the size of the possible pool of interested applicants. A further wrinkle is the time of year a vacancy is advertised. Historically, 50% of vacancies appear in the January to March period and are the easiest to fill as that is when the majority of applicants are job hunting. TeachVac www.teachvac.co.uk has detailed information on how schools advertising for a head teacher fare, and how many have to re-advertise. Each year, a report is published in January.

We shall be watching the current trends with interest.

A Failure of Leadership?

Christmas 2019 must have been a wonderful time in the Prime Minister’s household. A stunning election win just weeks before; a new family member on the way and our exit from Europe assured.

How different, it must seem now. On March 20th, as schools were locked down, I wrote on this blog:

How a Prime minister deals with a crisis sometimes seals their fate. Chamberlain did not survive the switch from phony war to Blitzkrieg, and Eden paid for the shambles of Suez with his job. How our current Prime Minister handles the next few weeks will seal his fate.  I never thought I would be writing these lines, especially in a situation where the current government has such a large majority. But even a large majority cannot protect someone in Number 10 Downing Street if both the opposition and significant parts of his own Party want a change of leadership.

We haven’t reached that state yet. But, just looking at how the government has handled the school situation in England this week leaves me wondering, as a political opponent, how much more his own Party will take? Why was the list of key workers not available on Wednesday? COVID-19 PM’s Suez? Posted on March 20, 2020

Since then we have had the PPE crisis; the care homes testing fiasco along with the test and trace debacle. Admittedly, there was firm leadership over self-isolation requirements for travellers from Spain, France, the Netherlands and some other countries. But, even that leadership has too often turned into a communications disaster.

Now we have the Prime Minister seemingly abandoning his own Education Secretary to his fate. Leadership means either sacking him or backing him, not disappearing from sight. It is not for me to suggest a way out, but here is what I would do now:

Honour predicted GCSE Grades 

In this exceptional year, employers, colleges and schools should honour all teacher predicted grades for this year’s cohort of GCSE Students. Oxfordshire County Council Liberal Democrat Group believes such an approach provides clear leadership. Examinations at 16 are no longer an exit point from learning for the overwhelming majority of our students, and they should not be penalised by decisions taken in the interest of smoothing out a time series of achievement.  

Students starting in September will need support whatever the grades they were predicted to achieve, and using teacher grades to determine futures is the fairest method possible. 

In the longer-term, Liberal Democrats want an assessment of the cost and effectiveness of retaining public examinations at sixteen over more local forms of less expensive assessment. 

Finally, we acknowledge the hard work of teachers, parents and many others in supporting our young people and adult learners during this challenging period in our history. 

It is up to Tories what they do about the government, but the people will speak when elections return in 2021. A Prime minister that understands the history of this nation will know the portents.

Stuck Schools

This Report from Ofsted is an important addition to the discussions aound school improvement and deserves to sit alongside other HMI documents on this topic. For those of my generation these include the famous ’10 Good Schools’ report of some 40 years ago.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fight-or-flight-how-stuck-schools-are-overcoming-isolation/fight-or-flight-how-stuck-schools-are-overcoming-isolation-evaluation-report

Using the terms ‘stuck’ and ‘unstuck’ schools, tells it as it is. I was especially struck by the paragraph in the Executive Summary that said:

‘Most stuck and unstuck schools stated that they had received too much school improvement advice from too many different quarters of the school system. Often, the advice was intended to help schools with their improvement strategy. However, this rarely had the intended impact. Leaders perceived that the quality of the advice itself was often lacking. School leaders also commented on a poor match between the problems of the school and the advice on offer. While many were concerned about the lack of support available following inspection, schools often welcomed the fresh thinking and impetus that independent inspection had given them. Schools did not appear to be inhibited from discussing some of the challenges of inspection during this project.’

Ofsted’s suggests that there is enough capacity in the system to move ‘stuck’ schools forward, but that the content of the support, including whether it enables focused may be lacking.  There also needs to be effective action that responds directly to the issues identified. Additionally, is the support for a ‘stuck’ school best provided internally or externally to the school or MAT and there is also a question about the quality of those coordinating or delivering the support?

This last point is important as the fractured governance model for schools sometimes makes it difficult to identify the organisation responsible for taking the lead role in actually improving these schools.

What is the penalty for failure? Obviously, for local authorities and maintained schools, it is a transfer to become an academy. But what of academies? And, especially what of academies that are part of faith-led MATs where the Church doesn’t want to give up running the school, but cannot stop it being a ‘stuck’ school within a reasonable period of time?

Should there be a review of each Office of Regional School Commissioner to establish a baseline of the number of ‘stuck’ schools and a target for improvement that has consequences if not met? Alternatively, should the Office of Regional School Commissioner be abolished and a closer link to local democracy be once again added to our school system?

Finally, there needs to be a discussion about both funding for ‘stuck’ schools and how any extra funding is allocated under a National Funding Formula that clearly doesn’t take fully into account the fact that some pupils need more resources to achieve a desired level of outcome than do others.

Staff Development, and especially leadership development, also needs to be looked at afresh by the DfE. Should we re-introduce a qualification for leadership with modules about leading a ‘stuck school’? At least then the system would have a better idea of capacity to support and ‘unstick’ these schools.

We cannot allow the next decade to be wasted as the last one has been in so many cases as far as the education of these young people is concerned.

 

Who cares about school leadership and governance?

What’s happening to both the Teaching Schools programme and the idea of National Leaders of Education and of Governance? The DfE faithfully reports the numbers in each of these categories https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-schools-and-system-leadership-monthly-report with reports from September 2019 back to June 2018 on the DfE Website. Earlier reports seems to be archived and are not easy to find.

The DfE notes that Designation rounds for National Leaders of Education and teaching schools closed in May 2018 and designation rounds for National Leaders of Governance closed in May 2017.

The DfE is currently reviewing the current structure of system leadership to ensure the quality of system leadership remains as high as possible. The teaching school hubs test and learn phase, launched in May 2019, builds on the success of the teaching schools programme and is the first part of the department’s plans to review system leadership.

The number of system leaders who are currently designated is actively managed and the department keeps these matters under review.

As a result, it is perhaps not surprising to find that numbers in the different categories have reduced across the board between June 2018 and September 2019 as presumably few new additions have been made to replace those lost for various reasons.

June 2018            September 2019               Change                                 Percentage Change

Teaching

Schools                 668                         618                                         -50                            -7%

Alliance

Teaching

Schools                 835                         734                                         81                           -10%

National

Leaders of           1319                       1087                                  -232                            -17%

Education

National

Leaders of           442                          363                                       -79                         -18%

Governance

Source DfE publications for relevant months

Probably most worrying is the reduction in National Leaders of Governance. With an education system where governance is a muddle and different schools operate under vastly different rules depending upon whether they are Maintained, Voluntary and Maintained, Stand Alone academies or Free Schools or members of Multi-Academy Trusts, there is a need for leadership that NLG can help provide.

Without the backing of the National College, now fading into little more than a memory, there is a need to provide support and development for leadership and career development the system. It is not clear where the impetus is now coming from. Perhaps the Secretary of State might care to make a keynote speech about this? However, I suspect nothing will happen this side of a general election and it will be anyone’s guess who might be occupying the Minister’s Office in Sanctuary Buildings then.

When I started in teaching in the early 1970s, there was little support for leadership, but it became an issue as the decade progressed, so much so that in 1978 I ran my first leadership course for middle leaders in schools. Sometimes it now feels as if the whole of the work undertaken since then has been discarded, and we are back to a free for all with no clear direction of travel for leadership training, development and support.

No doubt the review of the present structure will make suggestions: they cannot come soon enough in my opinion.