82 per cent of headteachers prefer Hunt to Johnson, poll finds

Four-in-five headteachers believe Jeremy Hunt would make the best Conservative prime minister, a new poll has revealed.

A survey by school information service The Key found 82 per cent of school leaders would prefer Hunt to win the Conservative leadership campaign.

Voting for Conservative Party members closes this week, with a new prime minister expected to be announced on Tuesday.

While the findings aren’t particularly surprising (the teaching workforce is generally more left-leaning), Hunt has not had much to say on schools during his campaign.

Meanwhile, his rival, Boris Johnson, has made school funding a key pledge of his campaign – promising last month to inject £4.6 billion into the school budget by 2022 if he becomes PM.

Despite this, just 18 per cent of heads would prefer him as the country’s next leader.

Amy Cook, head of content at The Key, said: “We polled school leaders on their preference for the next PM, given that they wouldn’t otherwise have a voice on this.

“We know the school sector is generally more left-leaning, so it isn’t a surprise that we see a landslide victory for Hunt. The school leader view is clearly at odds with opinion polls elsewhere, pitching Johnson as the firm favourite.”

A total of 749 school leaders were asked “Johnson or Hunt: who do you think would make the best prime minister?”.

The survey ran online from Thursday, July 11 to Wednesday this week.

One of Hunt’s only key pledges on schools is to put mental health support in classrooms to “tackle mental health at a young age because more than half of mental health problems become established before the age of 14”.

Plans to place mental health support teams in schools are already under way, with the current government also pledging to ensure new teachers are trained in how to spot signs of mental ill-health.