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Fixing the leadership crisis

NAHT’s latest report, Fixing the leadership crisis: time for change, finds that school leadership supply is teetering on the brink of collapse.

(This report was launched at an online member-only town hall meeting on Wednesday 8 December 2021, before being shared with MPs at a face-to-face parliamentary briefing on Wednesday 2 February 2022.)

Before the pandemic hit, it was clear that leadership recruitment and retention was at breaking point due to unsustainable workload and working hours, and a broken inspection and accountability system. Our latest research finds that the government’s actions over the last two years have made an already bad situation even worse, and have left many leaders feeling mistreated, distrusted and unsupported.

Fewer teachers aspire to become school leaders, and aspiration to headship has collapsed. This is in no small part due to awareness of the spiralling mental health and well-being crisis among leaders, while failure to address their falling real-terms pay has provided little financial incentive for promotion.

It is now time for a complete reset – not just in terms of the government’s relationship with school leaders, but also in the nature of the school leadership experience itself.

To achieve that, it’s necessary to restore agency and independence to leaders, value their professional experience, deliver fair accountability measures, remove workload, and restore and enhance leadership salaries that have suffered a decade of real-terms losses.

Leaders don’t need more system change or government intervention, they simply need appropriate resources, sufficient autonomy and to be trusted to get on with the job they love.

In this report, NAHT identifies the urgent challenges that must be tackled to create the conditions for school leaders to thrive so that their schools and pupils can thrive too. As ever, NAHT pledges to play its part in leading that transformation.

You can also find out about the recruitment and retention issues affecting school business leadership in England's schools (and read the specific SBL report) here.


To fix the leadership crisis we need as many people as possible to get involved in our campaign.  

Please use this letter-writing tool to write to your MP, and tell them about the growing pay, well-being and workload pressures you, and your staff, are currently experiencing.