Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 12:19 UK

'1,000 heads' leave over workload

Head teacher
Schools are finding it harder to recruit, says the NAHT

More than a thousand head teachers and deputies are quitting the profession early every year because of work pressures, teachers' leaders say.

The National Association of Head Teachers said these school leaders were leaving before retirement age and often with no pension or job to go to.

General Secretary Mick Brookes blamed a long-hours culture which saw nearly 44% of his members working 60-hour weeks.

He urged ministers to act urgently to ease the burden on school leadership.

The NAHT, which is holding its annual conference in Liverpool, analysed its database of more than 28,000 school leaders and discovered that 1,091 had quit early in 2006 and 1,031 in 2007.

There is a high re-advertisement rate - approaching 50% in some areas
Mick Brookes
NAHT general secretary

Mr Brookes said a survey of 3,000 heads, deputies and assistant head teachers suggested nine out of 10 worked longer than 48 hours per week.

He blamed the failure of the national agreement aimed at easing pressures on head teachers by giving them dedicated time for their extra duties.

More than two-thirds of NAHT members surveyed said their workload had increased the previous year.

A fifth said they were seriously considering changing jobs in the face of an "uncontrolled and expanding workload".

Mr Brookes said schools were also finding it increasingly difficult to recruit head teachers.

"We are down to three or four applicants on average for primary schools and special schools and about six for secondary schools.

"There aren't the necessary number of people applying and sometimes schools are not appointing anybody, or in desperation they are appointing the wrong person," he said.

"There is a high re-advertisement rate - approaching 50% in some areas."

He added: "In some cases, nobody is applying. It's very difficult for schools in these circumstances with hard to reach children and hard to reach parents.

"But it's not just these schools that are struggling - those with good reputations are having problems too."

Shortage of heads 'set to peak'
19 Feb 08 |  Education
Secondary head shortage 'easing'
18 Jan 08 |  Education
Head teacher shortage 'to worsen'
05 Sep 06 |  Education
'Hundreds' of schools lack heads
28 Apr 06 |  Education

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