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School leaders call for ‘double digit’ teaching pay increase as new data analysis shows that staff vacancies have more than doubled

School leaders’ union NAHT today (Monday 4th March) calls for a ‘double digit’ pay uplift, to begin to restore the real terms value of teacher and school leader salaries and to improve the competitiveness of teaching as a career.

The call comes as NAHT publishes its annual evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB). Although NAHT submitted its evidence on time to the STRB on 21st March, it withheld publication because the government had, once again, missed the Review Body’s deadline.

NAHT’s submission also includes brand new analysis of previously hidden teaching staff vacancy data, which shows the increasing number of schools with staff vacancies.

  • Teaching staff vacancies have more than doubled between 2020 and 2022, from 1,098 to 2,334. The overall vacancy rate for England is at its highest for over a decade.

NAHT’s analysis finds that:

  • One in seven schools in England reported at least one vacancy or temporary post in the latest census.
  • This is particularly severe at secondary, with one in four schools reporting a vacancy or temporary post.
  • In Outer London more than half of secondary schools reported a vacancy.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “These figures show the real-life impact of the government’s neglect of teaching staff over the last decade. For every school that is missing a permanent member of staff, that is a teacher not present for children in the way that is so vitally needed.

“For secondary, that could mean not having a specialist subject teacher during exam years. For primary, it means not having a permanent dedicated class teacher to establish an educational bond and get to know pupils and their progress.

“The fact is that the teacher vacancy rate is higher now than it has been for over a decade, with a sharp increase over the past year especially. It could not be clearer that teachers and school leaders are reacting to eroded salaries and the cost-of-living crisis – as well as increasing workload, pressure and lack of wellbeing – and are leaving the profession.

“We cannot afford to let this continue. Education is already in the grip of a recruitment and retention crisis – the more people leave, the worse that gets. The government needs to send a clear signal to the workforce that change is coming – that starts with an urgent double digit pay uplift.”

NAHT’s full analysis of teaching staff vacancies can be found on pages 49-52 of its STRB submission. Its pay demands are laid out on pages 5-6. Read the full submission here: NAHT response to STRB 34th remit.pdf



First published 04 March 2024