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What did Good Schools Guide heads study at university?

A very important part of any Good Schools Guide review is the profile of the head. We generally find that most heads are happy to answer all our questions - even the more personal ones. We also hear on the grapevine that this part of our reviews is often used (presumably as background) by candidates applying for headships at other schools. It’s a privilege for our writers to spend time with such interesting and busy people and we love finding out what led them to work in education. A surprising number of heads claim to have ‘fallen’ into teaching - how careless of them!

Some of our writers have observed that music seems to be a popular first degree subject for heads; others thought history was the top choice. This got us thinking - so we decided to look through 800 or so Good Schools Guide head biogs and see what trends emerged.

Top of the head undergraduate subject charts are in fact science, technology and engineering degrees (16.7 per cent) but only if you group physics, chemistry, biology etc together. As far as separate subjects go, it’s English (16.45 per cent), closely followed by history (15.67 per cent). Other subjects are as follows in order of popularity:

Maths: 7.57 per cent
Languages: 7.18 per cent
Geography: 7.05 per cent
Music: 6.53 per cent
Education: 5.35 per cent
Classics: 4.96 per cent
Theology: 3.26 per cent
PE: 2.74 per cent
Economics: 1.70 per cent
PPE: 1.31 per cent
Drama: 1.31 per cent
Law: 1.04 per cent
History of art 0.78 per cent
Archaeology: 0.39 per cent

So, it looks like a win for the liberal humanists. It’s hardly surprising that a head with a degree in music is more likely to be in tune with, say, a choir school, but should we worry that so many English graduates and historians are leading our top schools? Lord Sugar might take a view on this but we couldn’t possibly comment.

Written by Janita Clamp - Senior Editor The Good Schools Guide

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