Aspirations to headship?: The views of Experienced Deputy Headteachers in Scotland

Christine Forde and Kevin Lowden, University of Glasgow, Scotland

A number of education systems are grappling with the issue of recruiting suf cient numbers of teachers with the required skills and experience into principal or headteacher posts. This article examines the question why some suitably quali ed and experienced deputy headteachers choose not to move into headship. The article reports the ndings of an investigation into the career aspirations of experienced deputy headteachers as part of a wider study on the recruitment and retention of headteachers in Scotland. A sample of nineteen deputy headteachers who had not progressed to headship was interviewed. The article begins with a review of studies regarding aspirations to headship, followed by an overview of the research study. The  ndings are discussed around a number of themes: career pattern, the role of the deputy headteacher, incentives to remain as a DHT. incentives and disincentives related to progression to headship. The data indicates that aspirations to headship are complex and there is often the intersection of personal and professional circumstances shaping career paths.


Keywords: headship, career aspirations, career paths, recruitment of headteachers


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