Accessability Links

When is the right time to hire interim head teachers?


According to a recent study by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), two thirds of UK schools and colleges struggle to hire teaching staff. This can lead them to take on more substitutes and interim teachers, including interim head teachers, but when is the right time to take this action?

Teacher crisis

NAHT’s report is published amidst growing concerns of a recruitment “crisis” for teachers.

From the 1,000 organisations interviewed, 62.4%1  faced tremendous difficulty recruiting classroom teachers and 61.8%2  found it hard to find senior members of staff. 40.5% said the struggle was due to a shortage of teachers while 41.4% said it was due to a lack of quality applicants.

Louis Coiffait from NAHT Edge – which works to support senior teachers – explained that until the crisis is addressed in each stage of the education system “there's no chance that we'll have the quantity or quality of head teachers” needed.

Finding experienced teachers is not the only difficulty though. A third of those questioned about Newly Qualified Teachers (NWTs) taken on in the last two years thought they were underprepared with common problems including: poor classroom management skills (73%), limited subject knowledge (58%) and poor understanding of teaching, learning and child development (56%)3 .

Why choose interim staff?

For colleges to manage the ever increasing demands that are placed on them they must be able to find adequate teaching staff at a moment’s notice. This is where interim staff – and interim head teachers in particular – come into play.

Cost and time is extremely important to colleges when it comes to hiring interim head teachers and the effect they have on students is perhaps even more important.

A study conducted in 2010 by Atherton and Kingdon  on the effects interim teachers have on learning found no negative effect on grades and academic performance. In fact, it was often a great deal more effective and led to “improved student outcomes”.

The researchers concluded that interim teachers are actually “better value for money” when compared to those hired under permanent contracts.

Interim head teachers

The roles in which an educational institution will choose to hire interim teaching staff will largely depend on demand and budget but senior positions can benefit from the introduction of these individuals a great deal more due to the strict time constraints and importance of the roles.

Interim head teachers or deputies take control of a college until a permanent replacement is found and has many key benefits for the establishment and its students.

They are cost effective and enter the establishment with new ideas, thoughts and relevant qualifications for the role and this can provide the fresh approach needed to drive a college forward and ensuring the best results.

With increasing pressures facing schools and colleges because of the staffing crisis, now is an ideal time to recruit an interim head teacher but what else should establishments consider before taking this action?

The most important thing to bear in mind is that an interim head teacher will only work for a fixed period and is therefore not a permanent solution. If a head teacher has recently moved elsewhere and recruitment is slow then they are an obvious way to fill the void with high quality and experienced teaching.

Another situation when interim head teachers are the right choice are if newly appointed head teachers need to vacate their position – either for personal reasons, performance issues or because they want to return to their previous role (this is particularly common if they were promoted internally from the school and given the option to return to their former role if desired).

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of colleges to decide when it is right to hire an interim head teacher. But, with teaching recruitment problems far from solved and many benefits offered by these temporary stand-ins, doing so could be one of the best decisions ever made.

As experts in interim management recruitment – particularly within education – Veredus has been shortlisted on the Institute of Interim Management Survey.

You can take part in the survey here. page 6

Recent Comments
I couldn't have runedod it up better, though i would like to point out that these are also the primary actions carried out on the majority' of recruitment sites on laptops, smartphones, pc's, macs and tablets.
Narcis, 20 September 2015
Add new comment