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'Being head of school losing appeal'.

Byline: Joanna Desira

New pressures are making headteacher vacancies more difficult to fill, Teesside heads have warned.

The National Association of Headteachers has claimed vacancies in the UK are hitting critical proportions because of heavy case loads and Ofsted inspections.

Teesside headteachers have echoed the union saying deputy and assistant heads are becoming more reluctant to take on the role.

But Local Education Authorities say there is no cause for concern.

Nationally between January and April last year there were 1,160 vacancies compared with 1,428 during the same period this year.

Figures over the same period show in Stockton there were seven headteacher vacancies compared with nine this year, in Redcar and Cleveland there were four rising to five this year and in Middlesbrough there were three vacancies dropping to two.

John Bate, headteacher at Acklam Grange and chair of Middlesbrough Secondary Heads Association, said: "I'm conscious of the vast range of responsibilities and skills that people who take up headship have to take on in order to keep up with the job.

"And, whilst the Government through the National College for School Leadership is attempting to prepare people for school headship, the intensity of work and the range of responsibility means that a number of assistant and deputy heads feel they would rather be part of the management team then take on the role of head," he said.

Peter Ormerod, headteacher at St Edward's Primary School in Middlesbrough, said: "Increased pressure within the job and the complexities associated with the job are great and it may be that people are asking if they want to take on additional responsibilities.

"Colleagues retiring around now are leaving with a lot of experience and schools are making the salary higher than that earned by the experienced headteacher who is leaving."

Jenny Lewis, director of education at Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: "Figures have risen slightly due to the fact more headteachers in the borough are coming up to retirement age and that we are currently amalgamating ten schools down to five in the primary sector.

"Another factor is that headteachers move from smaller schools to bigger schools."

A spokeswoman for Stockton Council said: "The notice period for a headteacher can sometimes result in a short-term headteacher vacancy until a new headteacher is appointed and is in post. There are also occasions when we mirror the national trend of having to go to re-advertisement to successfully recruit to a headteacher vacancy."

A spokesman for Middlesbrough said vacancies have arisen due to amalgamations and retirements.
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 18, 2004
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