Home Menu

NAHT Northern Ireland

NAHT_NIidentity_RGB_LR 389.jpg

NAHT Northern Ireland represents principals and vice-principals in around two-thirds of 1,150 schools in Northern Ireland. NAHT Northern Ireland provide advice, training and support for its members on a range of issues faced by senior leaders in schools. Along with our colleagues in England and Wales, we are there to defend and extend the rights of school leaders.  

NAHT NI is democratic and member-led, and supported by its Belfast-based team of staff alongside their colleagues based in both Wales and England.

NAHT Northern Ireland
Carnmoney House
Edgewater Office Park


02890 776633 

School Leaders across Northern Ireland vote to take action unless the Government and Employers deliver a fair settlement on pay

School leaders in Northern Ireland will not accept another year of pay cuts. Declining leadership capacity puts children’s education at risk. Members of the NAHT, the school leaders union have overwhelmingly demanded a meaningful settlement this year.  

Following the depth of frustration evident at the unions Norther Ireland Conference members were surveyed by the union in advance of making a further appeal to government to rectify the situation. In that consultation  run by the NAHT, conducted between the 30th of May and the 10th of June, 93% of school leaders said that they would be prepared to take industrial action short of a strike if the employers fail to provide a fair pay settlement by the 31st of August.

The response rate to the indicative ballot (78%) demonstrates the depth of feeling around the issue of fair remuneration for the vitally important and demanding role of school leadership.

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Leadership supply for our schools is teetering on the brink. School leaders’ pay has been cut by a fifth in real terms since 2010, and this, in combination with high stakes accountability, crushing workload, long hours and inadequate school funding, is driving leaders from the job they love. We need a new, fair deal on pay to make a life-long career in education attractive and sustainable.”

"It is highly unusual for school leaders to contemplate taking industrial action. This signals the depth of the despair members feel. The government can’t push these professionals to the back of the queue any longer. If NAHT members tell me that they are prepared to take action then I take them seriously and so should government.

“NAHT understands the strength of feeling of its membership and it is now plain for the government to see. We appeal to the government to meet with us and arrive at a fair settlement before the summer break so that we can move forward with confidence into the new academic year.”

Liam McGuckin, NAHT(NI)’s president said: “The pay offer made by the employers in February was considered to be derisory by our members. School leaders are not asking for anything unreasonable; they are telling the employers that they have been demeaned and damaged by consecutive pay reductions of over 20% in the last decade, for a job that has become increasingly challenging and less-well-resourced and supported.

“We still believe that genuine attempts to resolve this issue can result in an acceptable settlement, and we remain determined to do all that we can, as a trade union, to exhaust all avenues open to us in order to avoid any escalation to a formal pay dispute. Time and patience have, however, almost expired."

First published 10 June 2022

Recent consultations and other documents

NITC joint letter to management side

The five teacher unions in Northern Ireland, including NAHT(NI), wrote to the employers seeking additional payment to school leaders and teaching staff who worked significant additional hours during summer 2021 in order to ensure this work was recognised.


Consultation on deferring school starting age: NAHT(NI) draft response

We are concerned at the advancement of this proposal as the evidential basis for this consultation is highly limited. We contend that the current proposal should be retracted. The proposal fails to reflect the experience of pupils, school leaders, parents and the whole school community. Given the significance of this potential policy change, it is essential that the perspectives of all stakeholders are considered. We know that members are operating in a business-critical environment and will have limited or no time to engage with consultation exercises, however, we encourage members to consider responding to this important consultation and copy our response to complete your individual response.


Previous consultation responses and statements

First published 08 April 2020