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May 21, 2014

Number of female headteachers declining

Tristram Hunt

Labour's Tristram Hunt urges school governors to "'uphold their moral and legal duties'”

The proportion of female headteachers in English secondary schools has declined since 2010; only a third are women.  Hunt cites evidence from a survey by a leading teaching charity showing many school governors simply do not know they are not permitted to ask questions about women’s personal circumstances and family commitments, especially if they are not asking the same questions of male candidates.

Figures for 2010 show 60% of heads were male and 40% female, with this imbalance widening two years later to 64% to 36%. There is little distinction in the figures between academies and maintained schools. The 2012 figures, published late last year, show 2,100 male school heads and only 1,200 female headteachers.

Hunt drew on testimony compiled by the Future Leaders Trust, a charity dedicated to improving the quality and commitment of headteachers. Kate Chhatwal, Director of Headship at Future Leaders, said: “We know that a good head can make a huge difference to the success of a school. If governors discount 50% of the talent pool because they are women, they can miss the opportunity to appoint the best person and as a result hold their schools and pupils back.”

See full article The Guardian 21st March 2014

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