Plan to change head teachers in 18 schools to ‘ease teacher shortage’

MORAY COUNCILLORS WILL be told this week that a plan to pair school leadership and change head teacher roles in almost all primary schools will help ease the region’s teacher shortage.

If approved the move will mean that just about every head teacher post in the region’s 45 primary schools would be administrative, non-teaching roles – and would also see the number of ‘paired headships’ increase from three to 12.

The proposals will be considered by the young people’s services committee when they meet on Wednesday, and if approved there will go to a meeting of all councillors and then public consultation with a view to being rolled out in time for the 2016/17 school year.

In a report to the committee, director of education and social care Laurence Findlay said that it is currently “very difficult to recruit head teachers to small rural schools and even to slightly larger schools for a variety of reasons.”

He added: “This draft policy aspires to create a more attractive and progressive carer pathway for aspiring school leaders which may alleviate some of our current recruitment challenges at senior management level.”

If the policy is approved then it would see almost all head teachers being “non-class committed” with their taking control of a management and leadership structure that “would enable them to focus on leading learning and teaching and developing the curriculum”.

Mr Findlay added: “This has been an aspiration of the service for many years and would have a significant impact on the service’s capacity for improvement.”

The policy would be fewer primary school head teachers – but an increase in the number of principal and depute head teacher posts, which would provide appropriate leadership and management support in particular at paired schools.

There are currently three schools where head teacher roles are paired – Tomintoul/Glenlivet, Inveravon/Knockando and Portknockie/Portgordon.

The plan would see this extended to pair head teachers at Cullen/Findochty, Millbank/Portessie, Logie/Dyke, Alves/Dallas, Rothiemay/Crossroads, Newmill/Botriphnie, Burghead/Hopeman, Aberlour/Rothes and Mortlach/Craigellachie.

In April Moray Council approved a plan to ease pressures on primary schools by reintroducing seven deputy head teacher posts in the region.

That was seen as a reversal of council policy that saw the removal of principal teacher posts from schools two years earlier – leaving the authority facing claims that workloads had become “unmanageable”.

A copy of the report being put before councillors is available here.