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Recruitment and retention

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School leaders are driven by an ambition to provide opportunities for young people to reach their full potential. To fulfil that ambition, teaching must attract and retain a high-quality, well-trained and properly rewarded workforce. 

Through our work with members, NAHT is documenting and communicating the unfolding recruitment and retention crisis taking place in our schools to policymakers at the highest levels. 

NAHT is campaigning to:

Ensure all schools can recruit and retain excellent teachers and leaders

  • Lobby for change and reform of key macro issues affecting recruitment and retention: pay, accountability, funding and workload and identify key actions to be taken to improve these
  • Press for the development of a range of flexible leadership and non-leadership pathways to support recruitment and retention, including new opportunities that will retain the experience and expertise of mid to late career leaders
  • Build on the opportunities offered by the Early Career Framework to press for similar support for new heads, deputies and assistants, and school business leaders
  • Maintain a watching brief on the impact of Brexit on teacher supply
  • Lobby the DfE for practical measures to address the workload of school leaders, including protection of strategic leadership time
  • Campaign for a staged real term, restorative pay award for teachers and school leaders
  • Develop a position on the role of CEOs and other posts outside the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) including a position on which roles should have a requirement for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
  • Lobby for a review of the pay system, including the STPCD
  • Press government to maintain and enhance the teacher's pension scheme and/or Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)
  • Support work to ensure the profession represents a diverse workforce, including those with protected characteristics
  • Support effective partnerships between school leaders and governors with clarity of roles and responsibilities across different school structures.

Create a safe working environment for school leaders and their staff

  • Lobby the DfE to take concrete steps to tackle verbal and physical abuse and aggression against school staff, including harassment online and through social media.  

Ensure professional recognition of school business leaders (SBLs)

  • Lobby the DfE for SBLs to be included within a new national framework of terms and conditions for school staff
  • Promote the professional standards framework for all SBLs
  • Raise the profile and understanding of the SBL role across the school sector, including with governors.  


Ill-health Retirement and long covid

Long covid or 'post covid-19 syndrome' is a term to describe the effects of covid-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness.
A wide range of different symptoms are associated with 'long covid'. These include: fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, chest pains, joint or muscle pain, cognitive impairment ('brain fog') and anxiety and depression.
NAHT has become concerned that there are currently insufficient provisions to support members who may need to submit a request for ill-health retirement due to 'long covid.' This is because 'long covid' is a new and emerging condition, and it is therefore harder to make a judgment that incapacity will be permanent under the scheme regulations.
NAHT is therefore working with others in the sector, through our involvement with the Teachers' Pensions Scheme Advisory Board, to press the Department for Education to scope out changes to teachers' ill-health provision in order to respond better to the health impact of the coronavirus pandemic on teachers and leaders.
The impact of this in relation to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is less acute as the LGPS operates a three-tier ill-health retirement system where members are able to access a short-term ill-health retirement pension (paid for no longer than three years) where they are too ill to undertake gainful employment but are likely to recover within three years of leaving service. This means that members with long-covid may be able to access this level of pension more easily which would allow them longer to recover before needing to seek new employment.
First published 22 July 2021