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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.  


England is losing school leaders at an unprecedented rate, new report shows

NAHT’s latest report reveals how England’s schools are haemorrhaging school leaders at an unprecedented rate. Gone for Good – leaders who are lost to the teaching profession highlights a truly catastrophic scale of loss, and one which threatens the stability of the profession and the future of the nation’s children.

The report shows that not only did a third (31%) of experienced leaders leave their jobs within five years of appointment, but more than half quit teaching altogether and are lost to state-funded schools.

  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of primary heads who left their posts quit teaching
  • More than two in three (67%) secondary heads who left their post left teaching.

Pay is critical to leadership aspiration and leadership retention. By the end of the year, we forecast that leaders’ salaries will have lost almost a quarter (24%) of their 2010 value in real terms. These cash losses are huge and the unfunded, below-inflation pay award simply exacerbates the existing leadership recruitment and retention crisis.

Read the full report

First published 29 November 2022