In this edition of the Kyra Journal we are placing a spotlight on co-headship.
Although there are still only a relatively small number of co-heads in the UK, it is a model of leadership that is attracting an increasing amount of attention and interest for a number of reasons. This is in part because of the current ‘recruitment and retention challenge’ within the education system, which, as well as impacting on the amount of classroom teachers, is also having a significant impact on the amount of people moving into school leadership positions. Fewer teachers are applying for headship roles (there has been a notable reduction in applicants for headteacher posts in recent years, particularly in primary schools), and government figures also show that almost a third of new headteachers leave the role within just three years. Could opportunities for co-headship help to lessen this problem?
Co-headship certainly has the potential to address a number of the factors which put people off moving into a headship role. For starters, it opens up the possibility of flexible working to headteachers, therefore offering improved work-life balance to potential heads with young families or other family commitments. Sharing the responsibilities of headship with someone else may also make the job more appealing to those who would be worried about facing the demands of headship alone. A co-headship models means that there is that it is less pressure on just one person, since co-heads have a ‘thought partner’ to discuss ideas, problems, and solutions with, as well as having shared accountability for decisions.
While there is still a long way to go before co-headship is considered a normal and commonplace alternative to sole-headship, in the pages ahead you will find three case studies of schools with co-heads, who explain how they have made co-headship work successfully in their own context. These examples show not only that a co-headship leadership model can work, but that it can enable staff and schools to thrive!
We have also included an ‘Expert Voice’ interview with Jill Berry, who shares her thoughts, advice, and personal experiences as a headteacher of over 10 years. This interview will be of great interest to anyone who may be considering (or even just ‘considering considering!’) becoming a headteacher one day.
We hope you enjoy reading this edition of the journal as much as we have, and extend our thanks to everyone who has contributed.
Marie Claire - Bretherton
The full publication is avaible from the download section of this pages, you can read the followinga rticles form the journal by following the links:
- Interview with Liz Robinson – on her co-headship at Surrey Square Primary School, London.
- Expert Voice – Jill Berry – thoughts and advice for those considering headship
- Co-headship at Mount Street Academy, Lincoln – Lauren Nicoll and Rachael Horn
- Legsby Primary School, Lincolnshire – Co-headship at a small, rural school; Ben Murray and Lucy Dabbs
- Reading and resources - Leaders embracing support, flexibility and new ways of working