Talent scouts must recruit teachers for head roles, urges Ofsted chief

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”…

More at: Talent scouts must recruit teachers for head roles, urges Ofsted chief


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…


Talent-scouts to fast-track young teachers into apprentice-head positions - good idea?

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  1. wasateacher

    It is because there are school leaders who have been promoted to quickly and have learned the theory but not the practice that we have some of the problems today.  Teachers need to spend time making mistakes, learning from others, developing their own style (whilst valuing that of others).  Those who want to get out of the classroom as fast as possible are not the right people to be managing those who stay in the classroom.

  2. wasateacher And those who think they are capable of leadership without having had much experience are over-confident and lacking in self-awareness.  Just the kind of people you want running schools.

  3. Headteacher

    This is really quite unbelievable given that he is at least part of the problem in creating high stakes accountability culture in schools, that puts other senior leaders off wanting to take on headships. Heads are more like football managers these days – one seasons results can put you in the spot light!

  4. TW

    Will this bloke ever understand that he has served his purpose and helped the government line up schools for privatisation and to be profit centres for edu-businesses.  No-one cares about his loony ideas and what he thinks.

  5. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove What are the govt or schools going to offer those they head hunt? There’s no more money.

  6. _Grammarsaurus_

    SchoolsImprove Yes! Find the teachers who give 110% and have that potential and put them in the seat they want! 🙂

  7. BridgetBurke2

    SchoolsImprove priceless! What does he think we are doing, deputies & assistant HT don’t want the jobs

  8. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Many primary heads earn under £50k and have to do a significant amount of teaching too. Not worth the stress.

  9. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove I have always wondered about the mentality of going into teaching to escape the classroom as quickly as possible

  10. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Wilshaw’s behaviour is becoming increasingly bizarre. I assume he’s playing a clever game,or he’s just barking

Let us know what you think...