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Schools urgently need good leaders, says Ofsted boss

The need to recruit good future leaders for England's schools is urgent, the head of Ofsted has said.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said it was critical to have a national system that identified, trained and nurtured teachers with leadership potential.

He has given a paper to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, setting out his thoughts on how to ensure schools have strong leaders for the future.

He also said school leaders' pay should be publicised to attract top graduates.

Giving evidence to the Commons Education Select Committee, Sir Michael said more must be done to bring on the talent of the future.

"Have we got a national system to identify good people early in their careers?" he asked.

"We need to make sure we have a national system which identifies good people with potential leadership capabilities and to identify them and move them into leadership positions as soon as possible.

"It's urgent, it's absolutely urgent."

Good teachers could take on senior positions within a few years, school leaders could earn more than £100,000 a year, and the leaders of multi-academy trusts could be "very wealthy individuals", Sir Michael told the committee.

"We should publicise that if you're good and you want to make teaching your career, leadership your career, you can do very well financially," he told the MPs.

Sir Michael also warned improvements to England's education system would be undermined if more action were not taken to tackle teacher shortages.

He said more needed to be done to boost the status of teaching and attract more good candidates.

Sir Michael's words come against a backdrop of warnings about teacher shortages, notably from head teacher unions and the National Audit Office.

The government has said overall teacher numbers have risen and has blamed unions for "talking down" the profession.

But Sir Michael said: "I think what we've got to do as a country is to make sure we get more people applying for teaching and training - and we're not doing that successfully.

"All the great improvements that we've seen over the last few years could be undermined unless we tackle this very serious issue."

The status of teaching was very high in some other parts of the world and it needed to be the same in this country, the Ofsted boss said.

He said it was the job of everyone working in education to help to boost the image of the profession.

"We have to make sure that teaching is seen as a really great job," he said.

"We need to say how good the job is.

"So much of what we hear is negative - the workload, it's a difficult job, badly behaved children etc.

"We've got to start saying that this is one of the most noble jobs in the world, and we don't hear enough about that."

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