Sharing head teachers is not to save money, say Education

THE appointment of two ‘leading head teachers’ who will oversee two primary schools each from September is not a cost-cutting measure, the director of Education has said.

Following the announcement that John Baudains has been appointed leading head teacher for the partnership of La Moye, his current school, and Bel Royal, and that Vicki Charlesworth will lead Les Landes, her current school, and St Peter’s, director of Education Seán O’Regan has provided further details about the new models.

And when asked whether the appointments were driven by a desire to save money, he said they were not.

‘While all of us in the public service are keen to be as efficient and effective as possible within available resources, especially in light of the impact of the pandemic, this is not a cost-cutting measure,’ he said. ‘Rather, the focus is on deriving greater benefits through a formalised collaboration and a new model of leadership to further improve outcomes for all children. The two newly appointed leading head teachers are now working with the department to define their models to start in September.’

He added: ‘The drive for this new initiative is to build on established school-to-school-partnership working in Jersey and take this to the next level and create two formal school partnerships. Each will be under the common leadership of an inspiring leading head teacher, with new models of school leadership in each school, recognising its own unique setting, while bringing in the many benefits of collaborative working.’

Mr O’Regan also confirmed that while they would be supported by the senior leadership teams in both of their schools, Mr Baudains and Mrs Charlesworth would be acting as head teachers at their schools and not overseeing another head teacher below them.

‘A key requirement of applications for these posts was the capacity in their own school to provide sustained and continuous leadership if successful in seeking this new pilot post,’ he said. ‘This is the case for both. The established senior leadership teams in all of the four schools will support the two heads, ensuring the smooth day-to-day running of their school.’

It is not the first time schools in Jersey have shared single head teachers. A partnership was set up between Grainville and Haute Vallée schools, which shared a single executive head teacher from January 2018 to December 2019.

Another new model of school leadership trialled in Jersey, Mr O’Regan said, was the promotion of various acting-headteacher roles in four primary schools for serving deputy heads while their head teachers were seconded to work for the department as senior advisers.

‘This served to give professional development to these heads and acting heads to enhance their skills and benefit schools across the Island,’ said Mr O’Regan.

Partnerships also exist between Trinity and St Martin’s schools, while Jersey College for Girls and its prep school come under the banner of ‘two schools, one college’.

Mr O’Regan said it was hoped that the partnerships under the new leading head teachers would continue long after the four terms of the pilot scheme.

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