ALMOST 200 Scottish headteachers are running more than one school as potential leaders are put off by too little pay and too much responsibility.
A staggering 191headteachers – almost 10% of the total – are currently in charge of more than one school in Scotland, a rise of 69% since 2010.
One region, the Highlands, has 36 shared headships, while in Aberdeen four primary schools have been trying to get headteachers for three years.
Two of Scotland’s largest schools, both in Glasgow, are set to to come under the leadership of one head teacher in August this year after the council failed to find a suitable candidate.
The headteachers’ union said that the looming leadership crisis is due to low pay and high expectations placed on those who do take on the role.
The figures, from a Freedom of Information request, were published in a Scottish education magazine today (fri).
Most shared headships are in primary schools, with Aberdeen City Council revealing that 14 of its 49 primary schools are seeking head teachers.
The longest running vacancy is at the city’s Cutler School – with a roll of over 300 pupils – where the council has been trying to fill the post since June 2014.
The figures reveal that there are now 29 shared headships in Dumfries and Galloway and 19 in the Scottish Borders.
At the beginning of the new school year the head of St Andrew’s RC Secondary in Glasgow, Gerry Lyons, will also become the headteacher of Holyrood Secondary, which is five miles away and on the opposite side of the Clyde.
The council said it failed to receive “sufficient high-calibre applicants for the position of headteacher at Holyrood”.
Mr Lyons will become the second S
cottish head to run two secondary schools. In South Ayrshire, Lyndsay McRoberts is responsible for Kyle and Ayr academies.
Shirley MacLachlan is the head of six of Arran’s seven primaries, where she is responsible for a total of 197 pupils.
Headteachers in Scotland are paid on a range of £44,223 to £86,319 – not enough for some candidates who either stay in the classroom or earn more in the private sector.
Commenting on the findings Liz Smith, Conservative education spokeswoman, said: “This is further evidence, if any was needed, that teacher shortages are affecting the highest level of the profession just as much as classroom teachers.”
Greg Dempster, general secretary of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS), said heads were “covering lots of classes and administration” before they could “focus any effort on school improvement.”
He added: “This really needs to be addressed – particularly as the governance review looks to be extending the expectations placed on head teachers.”
Iain Gray, Scottish Labour education spokesman, said the governance review would increase headteachers’ responsibilities “with no promises that salaries will be increased commensurately.”
He added that instead of addressing the problems with head teacher recruitment, education secretary John Swinney was “about to make this worse.”
A Scottish government spokeswoman said its deal with local authorities to maintain pupil-teacher ratios had halted a period of steady decline in teacher recruitment and resulted in 253 more teachers last year – the first substantial increase since 2007.
She added that the government recognised the difficulties in recruiting headteachers in some parts of the country and was investing £525,000 this year to report 175 participants on the new Into Headship qualification for aspiring headteachers.