THE DEBATE: Divorced from the Day-to-Day Challenges of Teaching

Article excerpt

JOHN MAYES, a geography teacher at Halewood College and senior vice-president of NASUWT, the largest union representing teachers and headteachers throughout the UK, said: "The report illustrates the increasingly more complex and demanding role of headteachers.

"It requires flexibility, a willingness to collaborate and more sophisticated management skills to lead larger teams of staff with diverse professional skills.

"However, the test for everything a headteacher does should be its value added to teaching and learning.

"Much is being made of the suggestion in the report that persons without qualified teacher status could be running schools. This is not a new idea but it has been brought into sharp focus by the fact that although headteachers have overall responsibility for the standards of teaching and learning, increasingly many no longer have any regular timetabled teaching commitment. Some choose not to. Others are not able to because of the demands made upon them. "What is evident is that those who are distant from the classroom become increasingly divorced from the day-to-day challenges of teaching and lose the professional empathy with, and understanding of, those who work within it. In what other professional walk of life does the opportunity exist for the lead practitioner not to actually put into practice or maintain the skills for which they are qualified and yet still manage the work of those who do? …