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Support staff pay award 2021/22

Update: March 2022

An agreement has now been reached on the support staff pay award for 2021/22, for a 1.75% uplift backdated to 1 April 2021.

A joint circular has been signed by UNISON and GMB asking employers to implement the final pay offer.

Update: January 2022

The results from the UNISON ballot are now in. Although there was strong support in favour of strike action (70%), the turnout was low (14.5%) and therefore they will not be undertaking any formal action. An indicative ballot undertaken by GMB resulted in a similar position.

The Unite ballots are still underway. 

Update: December 2021

The unions have rejected the National Employers’ full and final one-year pay offer and have confirmed the timetable for industrial action ballots.

UNISON will conduct a formal ballot 1 December to 14 January. Unite's runs 14 January to 17 February (24 February in Northern Ireland). GMB is conducting a consultative ballot (closes 13 December).

Update: October 2021​

The National Employers have re-met to consider the unions’ request to reopen the 2021/22 support staff pay negotiations.

During September, all three recognised unions consulted their memberships with a recommendation to reject the final offer. UNISON members voted 79% to 21% to reject; GMB members voted 75% to 25% to reject; and Unite voted 81% to 19% to reject. The unions are all now preparing to conduct industrial action ballots.

The employers have agreed that the pay offer made in July is full and final.  The pay offer for 2021 continues to stand as:

With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 2.75% on NJC pay point 1
With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 1.75% on all NJC pay points 2 and above
Completion of the outstanding work of the joint Term-Time Only review group
A national minimum agreement on homeworking policies for all councils.

Update: September 2021

The three local government unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) have confirmed that their consultation ballots on the final pay offer will run through to late September/early October. All three unions will be recommending the pay offer(s) be rejected.

Update: July 2021

The National Employers made an improved, final pay offer to the unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) currently negotiating for the local government National Joint Council (NJC) workforce. The offer is:

  • With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 2.75% on NJC pay point 1
  • With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 1.75% on all NJC pay points 2 and above
  • Completion of the outstanding work of the joint term-time only review group
Alongside this, the National Employers confirmed they would like to continue discussions on the three additional elements of the unions' claim, as outlined below.

Update: May 2021

The National Employers have submitted an offer of 1.50% on all pay points with effect from 1 April 2021, along with proposals that the NJC begins immediate exploratory discussions on three other elements of the unions' claim:
  • A national minimum agreement on homeworking policies for all councils
  • An agreement on a best practice national programme of mental health support for all local authorities and school staff
  • A joint review of the provisions in the Green Book for maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption leave
  • Following discussions, the Unions decided to reject this offer.


As of February 2021 the support staff unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) were in negotiations with local government employers over the pay and conditions offer for local government support staff for 2021/22. The original claim called for:
  • A substantial increase with a minimum of 10% on all spinal column points
  • A joint review of job descriptions, routes for career developments and pay banding for school support staff, and completion of the outstanding work of the joint term-time only review group
  • Introduction of a homeworking allowance for all staff who are working from home
  • A reduction of the working week to 35 hours with no loss of pay, and a reduction to 34 hours a week in London
  • A minimum of 25 days annual leave, plus public holidays and statutory days, for all starting employees, plus an extra day holiday on all other holiday rates that depend on service
  • An agreement on a best practice national programme of mental health support for all local authorities
  • A joint review of the provisions in the Green Book for maternity / paternity / shared parental /adoption leave
Following the claim we reached out to our SBL members to gather views on this claim in order to support our informal discussions with the representative unions.

NAHT's view

We do not believe that the current local government pay scales offer enough flexibility to recognise the status and seniority of an SBL role, nor do they take account of the growth in the scope and responsibility of school business leaders' roles over recent years. We are therefore pleased to see the request for a review of job descriptions and pay bandings for support staff, which could be a positive step forward in improving the situation. 
However, we are clear that in the long term there should be a national framework that defines the roles and sets out the pay and conditions of all those employed in a national, publicly funded education system, including school business leaders. We have repeatedly and extensively made this case to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), including in our latest work, which you can find here.
We continue to call for a significant pay increase for all teachers and leaders, including school business leaders, which is fully funded by the government. In the interim, NAHT has developed member advice around school business leader pay and grading, to support individuals with their personal circumstances, and offers support to individual members with their cases for pay reviews.
First published 10 March 2022

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NAHT Life gives you the opportunity to continue your membership of the biggest union for school leaders both in post and in retirement.


NAHT Life focuses on helping retired members receive excellent trade union services and allows you to continue to play an active volunteer role within NAHT regions and branches, if that’s what you choose to do!

Please note to qualify for the benefits of NAHT Life membership you must join NAHT life within six months of retiring. 

Please ensure NAHT has your correct post-retirement contact details.

NAHT is currently reviewing, renewing and refreshing its services to support NAHT life member.

The Life Members' Sector Council (LMSC)

Whether leaving a labour of love or embracing a life of leisure, there can be no doubt that retirement from school leadership marks a huge change in lifestyle. There will be adjustments to make, new challenges to take and a range of new opportunities. At a time like this, it is important that our experienced members do not lose all the support they received in their working life. Our life members’ committee is here to ensure members are supported in retirement.

This committee feeds its extensive wealth of experience and know-how to support the work of NAHT. It also gives our life members the chance to make important contributions to our campaigns for working members.  

The committee, which meets four times a year, is made up of one elected representative from each of our regions, with the addition of one place each for Northern Ireland and Wales. And these elected committee members, normally, serve a three-year term.

Areas of focus for the committee include the following: 

  • Current legislation issues eg pension provision
  • Action against discrimination, including age discrimination.
LMSC chair

John Killeen (National Executive member): john.killeen@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC vice-chair

Nigel Patton: nigel.patton@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC communications officer

Michael Wilson: Michael.wilson@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC deputy communications officer

Eugene Symonds: eugene.symonds@nahtofficials.org.uk

Committee servicing officer

Frances Geddes has the responsibility for working closely with the LMSC as servicing officer. She can be contacted via email frances.geddes@naht.org.uk.

For further details and contact information about all current LMSC members please check out ‘Who’s who’ and the ‘List of LMSC members'.

See also

Join now - Life Membership 
Life membership FAQs
Life members' sector council
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