Men get promoted more quickly, and 4 other findings from new school leadership research

The proportion of women appointed to leadership roles in schools is rising, but men are still being promoted more quickly, new analysis shows.

The Department for Education has published a new report on the 2016 school workforce census, comparing the positions held by men and women, ethnic minorities, and younger and older teachers.

More teachers are moving into leadership positions even though the proportion of classroom teachers is falling, and a large proportion of ethnic minority teachers are still based in London.

Here are the five key findings.

1. Men progress to leadership faster

Women are still underrepresented in leadership roles, especially at secondary schools, and men progress faster to leadership positions.

They are better represented at primary level, making up 85 per cent of the workforce compared with 73 per cent of headteachers. But at secondary level, women made up 62 per cent of the workforce and just 38 per cent of headteachers.

However, the proportion of women in leadership roles has generally increased between 2010 and 2016.

Women made up 77 per cent of newly promoted primary school headteachers in 2016, a three percentage point rise on 2011. In secondary schools, women made up 43 per cent of newly promoted headteachers, a four percentage point rise.

But men progressed to their first leadership roles more quickly than women in primary school.

In 2016, half of new women primary leaders had been qualified for nine years or less, compared with just six years or less for men. At secondary level, the difference was less pronounced.

2. The proportion of ethnic minority leaders has risen

Between 2010 and 2016, the proportion of headship positions held by ethnic minority teachers increased, from five per cent to seven per cent in primary schools, and from seven per cent to nine per cent for headteachers in secondary schools.

The proportion of ethnic minority teachers overall has also increased, from nine per cent to 11 per cent in primary schools and from 14 per cent to 17 per cent in secondary schools.

But large numbers of these teachers are based in the capital. 53 per cent of all ethnic minority primary teachers are in London. Among secondary teachers, the figure was 42 per cent.

3. Fewer classroom teachers, more leaders

The number of classroom teachers decreased by 0.5 per cent between 2010 and 2016, despite a rise in pupil numbers. But the proportion of teachers in leadership roles rose by nine per cent over the same period.

The trend was most noticeable at secondary level, with more teachers moving into leadership positions at secondary level despite a 10-per-cent decrease in the number of classroom teachers.

The growth in leaders was accounted for mainly by an increase in the number of assistant heads and middle leaders. Numbers of deputy headteachers and headteachers has remained roughly constant.

4. Senior leaders are getting younger

The median age for headteachers dropped from 51 in 2010 to 48 in 2016, the data shows.

For those teachers who stayed in teaching, one fifth had a leadership role by age 27.

Headteachers are also slightly less experienced than in 2010: where then half of headteachers had qualified 26 or fewer years earlier, they had four years less experience in 2016.

5. Teachers got their first leadership role faster at secondary, but reached headship quicker at primary

The time taken to reach a headteacher role was shorter in primary schools.

In 2016, half of new secondary headteachers had been qualified for 20 years or less, compared with 17 years or less for primary headteachers.

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