A MAJORITY of senior staff in primary schools have no interest in becoming headteachers because of mounting stress, bureaucracy and workload, a survey shows.

A poll of deputy heads and principal teachers found nearly two thirds either “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” when asked whether they wanted to become a headteacher - up from some 50 per cent last year.

The Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS), which conducted the survey, said the findings highlighted a “significant leaning towards uncertainty” about seeking headship roles.

The same survey went on to highlight the main concerns of headteachers as being workload, bureaucracy and lack of teaching and support staff.

On average headteachers said they were working more than 55 hours a week - twenty more hours than they are contracted for.

Read more: Schools struggle to recruit headteachers

Members of the union who submitted written responses identified a range of concerns with one stating: “I have the headship qualification, but do not want the stress of headship.”

Another said: “I cannot see how I could become a headteacher without it being detrimental to my own family life.”

One headteacher who had been in the post for a decade said they had stepped down due to family circumstances citing a lack of work life balance.

The survey comes as the Scottish Government prepares to give more powers to headteachers under a new Education Bill.

Read more: Rushing Headteachers' Charter could be 'disastrous'

The legislation will usher in a new Headteachers’ Charter which will enable heads to shape the curriculum, decide on how funding is allocated and select staff.

The rationale is a concern that decision-making by councils can be divorced from what is required at school level.

However, critics argue the proposals will increase school bureaucracy and make headteachers a lightening rod for any criticisms and concerns about standards making the job even more stressful.

Greg Dempster, general secretary of the AHDS, said international research proved how important high quality school leadership was.

He said: “What our survey tells us very clearly is that, due to a lack of resources or an excess of expectations, our school leaders are finding themselves diverted into front line roles or back-room bureaucracy.

“That prevents them from getting to the core of the leadership role of engaging with pupils, parents and staff in pursuit of school improvement.

“The current situation is putting many high quality candidates off headship, so the already poor recruitment position continues to worsen.”

Mr Dempster said there were obvious implications for the introduction of the Headteachers’ Charter.

He added: “School leaders are clearly struggling to deliver in their current roles and the government must take that reality seriously when considering how to progress and resource changes to the roles and responsibilities of school leaders.”

Read more: Why Headteachers' Charter must be piloted first

Eileen Prior, executive director of parent body Connect, said members were increasingly highlighting concerns over the recruitment of heads.

She said: “Parent councils tell us they have been part of selection panels over two or more rounds of recruitment, with posts being re-advertised even in city schools where the pool of candidates should be bigger.

“The advent of the Headteacher’s Charter and the expectations this will place on headteachers is another factor.

“Without doubt school leaders are being expected to step up to a very demanding role which is critical in setting the right ethos and values in a school, for the good of children and their future.”