With more than a third of secondary school leaders quitting their posts within five years, something must be done. But the DfE is playing political oneupmanship and shows no signs of wanting to engage with the real issues, says Paul Whiteman

The hearts of senior leaders, teachers and other school employees must sink whenever the government and education are mentioned in the same breath in the media.

In the last week alone, we’ve seen revelations which lay bare chaos, duplicity and a lack of cohesion at the centre of government when it comes to education policy, as well as the contempt with which the profession is seemingly held in some quarters.

First, levelling up secretary Michael Gove suggested that child benefits could be stopped for parents whose children are persistently absent, a proposal as misguided as it was out of the blue.

Attendance is only likely to be tackled successfully through better support services and resources for schools to work with families, with staff already deeply concerned about the growing numbers of children in poverty and the impact on their learning and wellbeing.

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