Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Leading views

Business managers' views on headship

More than a third of ASCL business manager/bursar members believe they are capable of taking on a headship, and of these, a third aspire to the role, according to research carried out by ASCL Council member Kerry Callaghan, who is business manager at Cowley Language College in Merseyside.

When asked whether they felt they had the capabilities for headship, 36 per cent of respondents said yes. Of these, the greatest number (49 per cent) had been on the leadership team for two to five years. A total of 215 members responded to the questionnaire.

Kerry said, "I assumed that those with capabilities would naturally aspire to headship. The data clearly does not show this as only 31 per cent of respondents who felt they had the capabilities aspired to the role itself."

Of those who felt they had the capability but not the ambition, the greatest number (28 per cent) cited attitudes of other staff as a barrier to progression. Another 25 per cent cited their own age and nearness to retirement as a demotivating factor.

Interestingly, the data indicates that of those who felt capable of and aspired to headship, equal numbers came from the private and education sector. The data suggests that only a small number of business managers have worked in more than one sector prior to their current role.

Kerry polled ASCL business manager members as part of her masters degree dissertation project on issues of school leaders without qualified teacher status (QTS) taking on headships.

Her research will also help ASCL to better reflect the views of members who are business managers, bursars and other senior support staff.

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