Education research: creating a new generation of London school leaders

The quality of school leadership is an essential factor in driving good outcomes for pupils.

‘Building the Leadership Pool in London Schools’ report provides evidence of the growing shortage of headteachers and a wide recognition that more needs to be done to secure the leadership pool for outstanding, future school leaders.

More schools to meet the growing child population in London will require more teachers, but also senior leaders, headteachers and executive and system leaders. In addition our existing schools will also need new senior leaders in future years because of such factors as retirements and middle leaders leaving the capital.

We asked 397 middle and senior leaders and 268 headteachers and system leaders about the professional development and leadership support available through national and London programmes, to help identify gaps and issues. We also interviewed 33 key opinion leaders and stakeholders.

London schools are finding it more difficult to employ headteachers than nationally. However proportionally more teachers in London aspire to become a headteacher than the national average. 49% of London’s primary school middle and senior leaders aspire to be a headteacher, compared to 27% in the rest of the country. In secondary schools, 31% aspire to be a headteacher compared to 17% in the rest of the country.

The report concludes that the leadership pool in London schools must be pro-actively nurtured to ensure that support and development opportunities are systematically available across the school system to talented teachers, middle and senior leaders.

To address these challenges London’s schools will need a talent pipeline to ensure that schools attract and retain good leaders.

We are currently working with partner agencies and stakeholders to draw up an action plan and develop a pilot to better support and encourage aspiring leaders to become the next generation of headteachers.

The full findings and conclusions for London’s schools and education agencies can be downloaded below, along with research data.

The research was commissioned by the GLA from LKMco, Kempton Consulting and Challenge Partners on behalf of pan-London agencies and groups, who had all identified increasing the pool of potential headteachers and senior leaders as a major priority for them.

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