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Headteacher’s Blog

I will let you all into a small secret. I really don’t like this time of year. It’s not the weather – I love that. It’s not the school calendar – far from it – Year 11’s putting all they have learned to the test, sports days, meeting the new Year 7 – no the calendar is not the problem.

It is the transfer market – it’s so stressful. As we near half term, some teachers apply for new jobs. Promotion opportunities, schools closer to home, better Headteachers, possibly a sixth form – the reasons are numerous. The problem is that as all schools hurtle toward the end of term, we all hope to be able to appoint to our vacancies, meaning that as we do so, we create a hole for some other poor Headteacher, and the teaching contract rules mean that half term is the cut off point for resignations. Pass this point, and any vacancies can only be filled by agency staff (not always a bad thing, but always expensive), brand new teachers (who require lightened teaching loads and mentoring) or teachers out of contract.

I gently growl to myself when I speak to other Heads who say, ‘Fully staffed for September.’ Of course, there have been years when that is me, and I walk about like the proverbial cat with the cream.

No cream on these whiskers unfortunately. This year is proving to be a bit of a challenge. No cause for panic – in fact it is our success as a school that leads to some of our recruitment issues – we are growing bigger, and we need more teachers to meet the demand. However, throw in a national shortage of teachers, and a reduction in the numbers of people training to become teachers, the extra issues for all rural schools of attracting staff, the cost of living crisis meaning that staff want to reduce transport costs, and we have a problem.

That is why I don’t like this time of year! It also means why I spend much of my time in my office interviewing candidates or reading their application forms.

Exams last week seemed to go ok – and I am pleased that this week the weather is predicted to be a bit cooler, as that makes sitting in the examination hall that much more comfortable. We continue to offer Year 11 all the support we can, and have our fingers crossed for everyone of them.

Have a great week everyone. Thank you for your support.

Mr Lee-Allan

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