The Guardian has reported that schools in England's poorest neighbourhoods could find themselves without a headteacher in a few years' time because of a dramatic decline in applications to a government-backed scheme that trains the future leaders of challenging comprehensives.
According to the newspaper (9/2/2010) , only a third of the number of last year’s applicants has applied to the Government’s ‘Future Leaders ’ scheme, which trains heads for challenging urban schools.
The scheme currently operates in London, the north-west, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, Bristol and the on the south coast, although it may be expanded to cover other areas in the future.
The Future Leaders website says it “presents talented and committed people with a unique opportunity to develop their leadership skills in preparation for National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), and thus make a significant difference to the lives of children and young people.”
Those selected for the programme can become headteachers within four years.The application deadline was extended until 16th February due to “the challenging start to the new year experienced by many schools”, according to The National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services website.
The Guardian reports that just 122 applications have been received, compared with 374 this time last year – when just one in seven applicants were selected.
According to the article, Heath Monk, Future Leaders' chief executive, attributes the sharp fall in applications to teachers being worried about the threat of public spending cuts on schools and deciding to stay in their current jobs.
In September last year, the Daily Telegraph reported that headteacher vacancies generally were unfilled at one in four schools. Dr John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told the Telegraph that the Government should do more to address increased workload and pressure on senior leaders and offer salaries and working conditions “commensurate with the high expectations now placed on them.''
Have your say: are fast track management courses like Future Leaders the answer to recruiting quality headteachers in urban schools? Is it your goal to become a headteacher? Or is it your idea of a nightmare? Post your comment and let us know!