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BETT LEADERS SPONSORED BYWhat does headship look like now and how can you encourage othersto take up the role?It's the fi rst term of the school year and, already, schools are facing a raft of changes - a new inspection framework, a curriculum review and revised accountability measures, not to mention the introduction of the fi rst group of free schools and the on-going transition to Academy status. And, of course, there is no respite in the demands placed on Heads to achieve more - despite fewer resources. The widespread social unrest during the summer has only heightened these expectations, on top of the usual attack on standards that accompanies improvements in pass rates at GCSE and A level.How should school leaders and teachers respond to this barrage of challenge and criticism? By shrugging their shoulders and accepting that schools simply cannot deliver all that society expects of them? Or by continuing the drive to ensure that every child, whatever their background, is given the opportunity to succeed.The evidence is clear that school leadership is, over time, the most determinative factor on pupil outcomes, which makes it even more of a concern that there is a signifi cant shortage of quality school leaders, with schools in the most challenging circumstances the most acutely affected.If we are to signifi cantly reduce the attainment gap, we need to ensure that strong, effective and experienced leaders who have the motivation and drive to take on the UK's most challenging schools are given the support and training that they need to make a real and lasting impact. There may be simply no other alternative. Heath Monk Chief Executive, Future Leaders14 BETT LEADERSOPINION