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School business leader pay: honoraria payments

Update, 23 November 2022: NAHT members should be aware that the Local Government Association is advising very strongly against meeting such claims for a supplementary pay increase at this point in time. As outlined below, NAHT will continue to advise members who may wish to explore this option.


NAHT is incredibly mindful that due to the flat rate increase of the support staff pay award for 2022/23, that any members earning over £38,500 (full-time equivalent) on the support staff pay scales will receive less than a 5% pay award. This is of course set against the backdrop of a 5% pay award for teachers and other school leaders and significant inflationary costs. 
While NAHT continues to campaign for a national pay framework for business leaders that would align pay with other school leadership roles, recognising the complexity of business leader roles in the system, this is of course a long-term solution and will not provide members with some immediate relief. 
One potential short-term option is to utilise an ‘honorarium payment’. An honorarium is essentially a temporary payment agreed by the head teacher and/or executive leader for undertaking higher level duties or responsibilities. The exact wording will be policy specific and may include different terms instead of honorarium such as allowances, payments, or rewarding additional duties. This could (assuming your pay policy covers this) offer school business leaders the option to apply for such schemes to help address the shortfall in their pay because of the particular pay situation in 2022.
While this does offer members a possible avenue to have their pay award matched to other senior colleagues, we must stress that this would be, assuming agreement from the employer, a temporary uplift only, and would not become part of a members long-term substantive pay, nor aid in addressing some of the known wider disparities between business leader pay and other senior leadership pay scales. However, we equally recognise that this could provide some additional pay now when the cost of living is increasing. 
For those members who wish to pursue this option, the first step will be to check your pay policy (to confirm that it includes the option for an honorarium payment), and then approach your head teacher or equivalent about the possibility of receiving such a payment, considering the above circumstances. NAHT will of course be able to advise any members on an individual basis with this, if required. 
Members may also wish to use this opportunity to open up a wider conversation about reviewing their role and accompanying pay ahead, and we would encourage them to utilise our school business leader pay and grading guidance in doing so. 


First published 17 November 2022