When I was a young teacher, 40 years ago, teaching posts with allowances attached, or deputy headships, were keenly contested, and anyone trying for a headship had to be prepared to apply for every appropriate post anywhere in the country in the hope of finally landing one.
Now we learn that in some areas head teachers can't be found for love nor money. At present, 20 per cent of all secondary schools have no permanent head, a figure that rises to 28 per cent in primary schools.
Indeed, in some primary schools in London, the promise of £60,000 a year isn't sufficient to get many applicants for a job.
It seems to me that these baldly-stated statistics give a small insight into the enormous crisis in staffing that now bedevils our schools, not only in headships but right across the board.
Inspectors complain more and more about schools failing because of poor management - about heads, deputies, heads of year, heads of lower school etc, who just aren't up to the job and who preside over schools where chaos and under-achievement reign.
All of us in education know of at least one teacher, hopeless at the job, but with an over-developed idea of their own capabilities, who has in recent times managed to land a headship and is now in charge of a school whose ethos and attainment are in direct relationship to his own lack of competence.
These are the schools, run by the ineffectual and untalented, with no ethos of discipline and hard work, which leave their new young teachers without any backing from senior staff, casting them adrift in the classroom, prey to the violent and disruptive pupils in their class.
It merely ensures that they will get out of teaching at the first opportunity.
No wonder morale is so low in the profession. The dissatisfaction with all the neverending new initiatives, the rising workload and poor pupil behaviour are infinitely compounded by senior staff who have just given up trying or don't know what to do and so just leave younger colleagues floundering and desperately struggling to survive each day.
Indeed, over the years it has been made abundantly clear to teachers that, of all the people in the school, they are the ones that matter least.
It is the children who rule and don't they know it!
Forced into paying lip service to the vague ideals of "child centred education" and being friends with their pupils, teachers have been forced to give up authority in their own classrooms, leaving children, armed with their knowledge of their "human rights", to abuse their power as they will.
Teachers are now the whipping boys of the children, since they now have no sanctions to prevent or punish bad behaviour, and of society, for not bringing to heel these badly brought-up thugs.
Is it any wonder that good graduates in vital school subjects from reputable universities wouldn't touch teaching with a barge pole and a big proportion of B Ed graduates, trained exclusively for teaching, never actually go into the profession?
The statistics for lack of head teachers points up a much more chronic lack of teachers in all subjects.
How many schools can't get full-time teachers of any sort and have to rely on a veritable army of supply teachers who stay for a day or a week?
How many schools struggle every day to get enough bodies to stand in front of all their classes?
Of course, the Government can easily draw a veil over this scandal by forcing examining boards for GCSE to offer an A* grade in business studies for 47 per cent and a C grade in higher maths for 16 per cent, to prove just how wonderful our teachers are, but I hope you don't believe them any more.
Many children got a better deal in the Victorian age than now. At least they were taught to read and write then.