Ian Simpson

VIA20

Stonehaven, United Kingdom

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Challenge

I consider myself lucky to have become a middle leader in the years since qualifying as a classroom teacher. In 2005 the leadership map was open source. The traditional route in teaching in Scotland was to become principal teacher of your subject area, sometimes accessing this via an apprenticeship of sorts in the now-defunct assistant principal teacher role. From either of these positions it was then possible to apply for wider school responsibilities and then move on to senior leadership. In 2020 the route for a newly qualified classroom teacher into a leadership position is now obscured, unacknowledged, under funded and as a result schools now only receive a handful of applicants for middle leadership vacancies. This matters because teachers are leaving the profession earlier than ever, potentially disenfranchised by the lack of leadership opportunities and moving to other sectors where the traditional route map still exists. This reduces the opportunities for students to take the subjects they are passionate about, to participate in wider community projects, to see how the knowledge and skills they are acquiring can make a difference to the world.

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