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Education in the media: 11 November 2016

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Apprenticeships, Teacher recruitment, Technical education

African American male teacher working at his desk

Today’s news review looks at a report on head teacher recruitment that doesn’t tally with the figures and a report into apprenticeships.

Senior leaders

Teach First, Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders have joined forces to produce a report on leadership in schools called The School Leadership Challenge: 2022. It predicts a shortfall in headteachers and other senior leaders by 2022.

The story has been picked up by outlets including the Times, the BBC and the TES. It was also featured on BBC Breakfast.

The report claims that by 2022 there could be a shortage of 19,000 senior school leaders. However, this figure doesn’t correspond with our data. There are almost 70,000 leaders in our schools at the moment and the number of schools reporting vacancies in leadership posts has shrunk since 2010 – despite the increase in the number of schools and pupils. Furthermore, the number of leaders over the age of 50 has gone down, meaning more stability for schools.

Almost 90% of schools are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in terms of leadership but we do recognise that recruiting more top quality leaders into our schools is highly important. That’s why we are:

  • supporting the development of high quality teachers and leaders through a new Teaching and Leadership Innovation fund (worth £75m over three years), supporting the delivery of MAT CEO training, and reforming the National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for leaders;
  • ensuring the supply of high quality teachers and leaders in the areas where they are needed most, funding targeted programmes to support leadership development in challenging areas (such as the High Potential Middle Leaders primary and secondary programmes, High Potential Senior Leaders programme (HPSL), and Talented Leaders programme); and
  • supporting high potential teachers into leadership roles, particularly women and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, through key interventions such as the Leadership Targeted Support Fund and Equality and Diversity Fund, funding networks to support career progression for women in the profession, and supporting coaching and mentoring for women into senior leadership roles.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We do not recognise these figures. The latest school workforce data shows that there are 68,800 FTE leaders in state schools in England. Furthermore, since 2010 the proportion of schools reporting a headteacher vacancy has decreased and the number of school leaders over the age of 50 has decreased significantly.


However, we recognise that we need to work with the profession to ensure we can develop even more great school leaders. We are doing this through a range of professional training including the National Professional Qualifications, the High Potential Middle Leaders and High Potential Senior Leaders programmes to develop excellent leaders in challenging schools.


We are also continuing to support the expansion of Teach First to recruit more top graduates with the potential to become future school leaders in some of the most challenging parts of the country.

Policy Exchange on apprenticeships

Think tank Policy Exchange has published a report that is critical of the quality of apprenticeships.

This has been covered by a number of outlets including the BBC, which failed to reflect the Government’s position despite having been sent a statement, the Sun and the TES. It was also discussed on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.

Apprenticeships are providing the opportunity for people from all backgrounds to get into the careers they want while ensuring society has the skills it needs. All apprenticeships are rigorously developed and the standards are designed by employers themselves, so that they are high quality and give apprentices the knowledge, skills and behaviours employers know they need.

Before being approved for development, any proposal to develop a new standard needs to meet a range of criteria including being a unique occupation requiring rigorous and substantial training of at least a year, and be at a sufficient level to enable the apprentice to undertake the role for that occupation in any business in England. Last year we rejected more proposals than we accepted, such is the standard we demand.

Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon said:

We are building a world-class apprenticeships scheme which will give millions of people the opportunity to secure the job they want and deliver the skills our economy needs. We have invested in the UK's future by doubling funding for apprenticeships to £2.5 billion by 2019-20 - twice what was spent in 2010-11 - and given employers more power than ever before to design training that meets their needs.


We have made clear that all apprenticeships must be of the highest quality, and all standards are now developed by employers themselves and rigorously checked before being introduced. From next April the new Institute for Apprenticeships, with employer expertise at its heart, will be charged with approving standards to ensure they are high quality.

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