A “superhead” in Birmingham has urged school leaders to remain “optimistic and creative” as unions claim the teaching profession is in crisis.
Sir Christopher Stone – dubbed a ‘national leader of education’ by the Government – said headteachers had to remain positive, despite facing “funding and recruitment challenges”.
It comes after Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw warned in January that schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse scandal were struggling to recruit staff.
Claims that hard-line Muslims tried to gain control of the governing bodies of five Birmingham schools have led to “big problems about leadership and staffing,” said Sir Michael Wilshaw.
The Government should help the schools recruit good staff, Sir Michael told the Commons Education Committee. And earlier this month, head teachers warned of an “exodus” from the teaching profession, as research indicates more than a quarter of schools nationally were unable to fill senior posts last year. A survey of members by the National Association of Headteachers found 26 per cent of respondents failed to recruit to teaching posts on the upper pay scale in the 2013-14 academic year.
The survey of 1,178 school leaders found that the most common reason cited for struggling or failing to recruit teachers was that the quality of applicants was not good enough.
Speaking on May 20 at the West Midlands School Leaders Annual Conference 2015, Sir Christopher praised education secretary Nicky Morgan for pledging her help to improve schools.
“Ms Morgan has further pledged support for schools helping schools to become better,” added Sir Stone.
“Teaching schools are a major part of this strategy and to have all the teaching schools in the West Midlands working together is a significant milestone.”
Sir Christopher is chief executive of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership , a trust made up of seven schools across Birmingham, as well as a national teaching school.
Of the Droitwich-held conference, organised by the Teaching Schools Council and the National College for Training & Leadership, he added: “The conference was a wonderful opportunity for system leaders to come together to discuss and share how a school led system could take our schools forward.”
Meanwhile, Louis Coiffait of NAHT, added: “It’s time to be frank; we’re facing a recruitment crisis at all stages of the education system.
“Until we address it at each of those stages, there’s no chance that we’ll have the quantity or quality of head teachers we need in the future.”