The Guardian is reporting that Sir Michael Wilshaw is proposing a national network of talent scouts who will fast-track young teachers into leadership positions in order to tackle “persistent failure” in England’s state secondary schools.
According to Wilshaw, the lack of able headteachers was the biggest challenge in improving state secondary schools outside London and the south-east, with many schools being being held back by weak leadership.
Wilshaw told MPs on parliament’s education committee he has sent proposals for the new network to the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, and urged the government to do more to recruit effective school leaders.
“Leadership is absolutely critical. We have banged on about school structures for the last few years and my advice for government is to move away from that now, and to look at what’s happening in terms of if we have got strong leadership,” Wilshaw said.
“I have said time and time again – I’ve said it to the secretary of state – we need to make sure we have a national system which identifies good people with potential leadership capabilities and to move them into leadership positions as soon as possible. I’ve put forward a paper to her on the way that could be done.
“The government’s looking at it but it is something which I think is urgent, absolutely urgent, because where we see a poor school we see poor leadership.
“How are we going to get better leaders in Dudley, in Hull or Grimsby or in Bradford, where I was yesterday, where standards are miserably low?”
The chief inspector was openly scornful of the Department for Education’s National College of Teaching and Leadership’s efforts, telling MPs: “What’s the national college for school leadership doing? When’s the last time you and I heard them say anything about leadership? I haven’t.”
Wilshaw’s plan is that young teachers be talent-spotted early in their careers and then encouraged to seek promotion into leadership positions that he dubbed “apprentice heads”…
Is Sir Michael right to single out the quality of leadership as the biggest issue schools face when it comes to improvement?
And what do you make of the idea of a network of talent scouts to identify and fast-track young teachers into “apprentice head” positions?
Please give us your reactions and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…
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