Several hundred schools in North Rhine-Westphalia lack a head teacher. The post of school management was vacant in mid-December in 415 cases - almost 9 percent of all public schools - the Ministry of Education reported when asked by the dpa. The primary schools lack the most executives – there are currently 270 vacancies there.
According to the ministry, in July 2021 the management positions could not be filled in almost 10 percent of all schools in NRW. The tasks of the headmasters are diverse, challenging and responsible, it was said in Düsseldorf.
"The Ministry of Education is therefore making great efforts to provide school management with extensive and intensive support and to prepare prospective school management for their future tasks." Adequate time is allowed for all activities in connection with the management of a school, i.e. hours of relief from teaching activities are granted. This line time has been increased several times in recent years. School administration assistants should also relieve the school management and teachers of administrative tasks - there are 825 positions nationwide for this.
According to the Ministry, even if school management positions are not filled, this does not mean that the management function would not be exercised at these schools. The school law provides for a certain order of representation. A survey by the education union VBE among around 1,300 school administrators across Germany revealed a “dramatic decline in job satisfaction” among executives.
The situation on the labor market is difficult nationwide – thousands of teachers are also missing in NRW. As of December 1, 8,047 teaching positions were vacant – out of 165,070 available positions. School Minister Dorothee Feller (CDU) recently presented a package of measures intended to alleviate the shortage of teachers and, among other things, provides for more lateral entrants, everyday helpers, fewer class tests and more rigorous delegations.
In which subjects is the shortage particularly noticeable? According to the Ministry of Education, the demand is particularly great for mathematics, but also for art, physics, music, computer science and technology at general schools of secondary level I and II. The vocational schools are looking for teachers in the fields of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, structural engineering, chemical engineering, home economics and nutritional engineering or social pedagogy.
It is unclear how many lessons are currently being canceled at the schools in the most populous federal state. A comprehensive survey was introduced at all schools for the 2018/19 school year. With the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020, however, the lesson statistics were temporarily suspended to relieve the schools. According to the ministry, it is planned to resume the survey for the 2023/2024 school year - results can then be expected from the end of 2024.