Head teacher crisis talk ‘wide of the mark’, insists KCC education chief

PUBLISHED: 11:21 11 September 2017

Is Kent facing a head teacher crisis?

Is Kent facing a head teacher crisis?

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Concerns were raised by opposition members, however, over the council’s recruitment strategy

Claim Kent is suffering a head teacher crisis have been dismissed as “wide of the mark” by the county’s education chief.

Earlier this month we revealed that some 45 schools across Kent were beginning the academic year without a head teacher in charge - up from 40 on last September.

Union chiefs said heads were leaving the profession in droves due to being “bullied” by government expectations - a claim disputed by the Department for Education.

Kent County Council discussed the issue of teacher recruitment at a recent children’s, young people and education cabinet committee, where cabinet member Roger Gough pointed out the number was in fact at 63 back in 2015.

“No one would deny that headship generates considerable pressures,” he said.

“There are challenges in head teacher recruitment that are a national issue, not a Kent issue, but I think any sense that this is a crisis, or indeed a situation that is materially different from what we’ve had for quite a number of years, is wide of the mark.”

Councillors also pored over the local authority’s international recruitment strategy, which has seen it target professionals in Australia and New Zealand.

However, opposition members raised concerns over the short-term nature of the plan, which council officers admitted had seen a high number of drop-outs, with many teachers leaving after little over a year, either through Visa issues or simply a desire to return home.

Liberal Democrat leader Rob Bird said: “Recruiting a teacher who is going to drop out after 18 months because they’ve got to be back on the Bondi Beach is not very helpful.”

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