Female heads ‘under-represented in secondary schools’, says study

The BBC reports that female head teachers in England’s secondary schools will remain an under-represented group for a quarter of a century.

The University of Nottingham research notes that there has been an increase in the overall proportion of female head teachers between 2001 and 2015, from 25% to 38%.

But it finds the proportion of women heads is unlikely to match that of women classroom teachers for 25 years.

It says the proportion of female leaders is too low given that women account for the majority of teachers in England’s secondary schools at 64%.

The report assessed the number of female heads in post in state secondary schools in England, including free schools and academies, in the academic year 2015-16.

It found only seven local authorities had a proportion of female secondary head teachers that matched that of women secondary teachers nationally.

These were Thurrock, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Merton, Bristol, Bracknell Forest, Wokingham and Darlington.

It says: “In the 21st Century, women’s under-representation in headship is a matter of social injustice.

“Women are not a minority. A social justice argument suggests women should be represented in headship in the same proportion as their representation in society and/or in the secondary school teaching workforce.”

It concludes: “At this rate women’s representation in headship will not match their representation in the teaching workforce before 2040.”

Report author Dr Kay Fuller, associate professor of educational leadership at Nottingham University, said schools should be setting a good example to young people.

“Girls and boys need to see women influencing decision-making and leading schools equally with men in this important stage of their personal development and learning.”

David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association and of the National Employers’ Organisation for School Teachers, said: “Local authorities value a diverse workforce and encourage and promote equality in all staffing decisions.

Read more Female heads ‘under-represented in secondary schools’, says study

Does the lack of a female role model at school alter girls perception of women in the workplace? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin 

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