Of the 50 headteachers polled at length by Judicium Education, the school support services company, on a number of core issues affecting schools, 96% said that the day-to-day running of their school limits the time they can actually spend ‘taking it forward’.
Judicium also asked the headteachers which, of three key areas, most keeps them up at night. The majority (60%) said HR issues, 11% replied that education standards are their biggest worry, while 7% of heads fret most about the state of the school finances.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of heads said that certain teachers take far too many days off each year. Underlining their HR concerns, 84% responded that they felt some members of staff take an unacceptable amount of sick leave.
With D-Day for performance-related pay edging ever closer, the poll also asked heads whether their best-performing teachers should earn more than their average-, or poor-performing, peers. More than three quarters (78%) agreed that teachers who outperform should be rewarded in this way. Just 22% of heads felt that they should not.
Leon de Costa, CEO, Judicium Education, commented: ‘What’s very clear from this poll is that the day-to-day activities that come with running a school are genuinely restricting the time heads have to focus on the bigger picture and to implement change.
“Heads are under pressure to improve education outcomes like never before. Yet it’s clear that HR issues, specifically sick leave and absence, are eating up a lot of time and energy that heads would rather spend developing their vision.
“Despite initial misgivings, heads clearly value the freedom to reward the best above their peers. The vast majority of heads we spoke to are in favour of rewarding their best-performing teachers with bigger salaries. Unfortunately, the roll-out of the new pay regime in the autumn, if not properly handled, could result in even more HR issues for heads, and see them spending even less time moving their schools forward.’