Skip to main content

Talking Heads

The views of London's school leaders on future challenges

  • By Hannah Barker

London is experiencing a school funding crisis that is damaging the quality of education schools can provide, research commissioned by London Councils has revealed. Headteachers face huge challenges in coping with reducing budgets, recruiting and retaining teachers, and managing teachers’ workload so that they can deliver the best quality education for our schoolchildren. Read more about the school funding crisis

Talking Heads, a survey of nearly 400 London head teachers and senior school leaders, lays bare the negative impact of insufficient funding on teacher and teaching assistant numbers, curriculum options, learning resources such as IT equipment and textbooks, and the upkeep of school buildings.

Another key challenge addressed by the report is recruitment and retention of high quality teachers. London headteachers are finding it increasingly hard to recruit and retain teaching staff due to the challenges of the profession as well as high living costs and house prices. Primary schools are struggling to fill classroom teacher vacancies, while secondary schools are struggling most with recruiting subject leaders. Find out how London headteachers are struggling to recruit.

Cllr Peter John OBE, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member with responsibility for education, said:

Cllr Peter John headshot

“Our research paints a bleak picture of the financial challenges threatening the future of London’s education system from the perspective of the head teachers and school leaders who have worked to transform the capital’s schools into the best in the country.

“Headteachers fear that young Londoners will not be able to receive a top-quality education in the years ahead due to increased costs and inadequate funding for schools.

“The UK is on course to leave the European Union in 2019 and ensuring young people have the skills to succeed and contribute to the growth of the economy has never been more important.

“We’re calling on Government to recognise that schools are facing significant additional cost pressures, and to protect school funding in real terms to address these pressures. This would give head teachers the freedom to focus on helping children to realise their potential at school so they respond positively to the challenges and opportunities that spring from Brexit.”