Shared Headships

Created on: 23 Jan 2018 | Last modified: 04 Jul 2018


1.1 The 2008 Annual General Meeting approved the following resolution:

"This AGM instructs Council to investigate and report on the workload implications for teachers in schools where there is a shared headship."

1.2 Advice was sought from Local Association Secretaries. Responses have been received from 11 Local Associations. This limited response is understandable since the introduction of shared headships only applies in some parts of Scotland.

1.3 Shared headships have been introduced for a number of reasons. In some Councils this has been a response to perceived issues of recruitment, in others the deployment of shared heads is explained as a consequence of a political decision to retain small rural schools and one Council has introduced shared headships pragmatically if a Headteacher cannot be recruited to a particular post.

In this circumstance a neighbouring head is asked to carry responsibility across schools. It is unclear under what process this additional responsibility is added to a Headteacher's remit and there may be a suggestion that some Heads have been pressurised into taking such roles.

1.4  Shetland Islands Council has reversed 3 "shared management" models under pressure from the Local Association. Two of these were a small primary linked to a Junior High School. In one case the HT supported this reversal and stated that the Junior High School lost out in the "deal" and the workload created a further issue.

In the second case staff and parents felt that the Junior High School was losing out. The position was reversed. The third case was rather unusual in that 3 island schools were linked. This was again reversed after union pressure on health and safety grounds.

It is also worth noting that three other attempts to implement shared management models have failed at the consultation stage due largely to the EIS influencing parents at public meetings.

1.5 While Shetland Council has stepped back from arrangements other Councils are consulting on shared headships. Given legislation changes regarding school closures Councils may be less likely to contemplate school closures and therefore the concept of shared headship will continue to develop.

1.6  The concept of shared headships is limited to a 2 school model in some Councils whereas in others 3 or more schools can be included in the responsibility of the Headteacher.

Download PDF