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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.  


Rethinking school inspection: NAHT’s latest report shows why Ofsted’s current inspection model is 'unfit for purpose' and calls for urgent systemic reform

Findings from NAHT’s latest member survey into school inspection in England highlight the crisis within the current inspection system. The Rethinking School Inspection: Delivering fair, proportionate and humane school accountability report shows how Ofsted’s current inspection model is not just having a hugely detrimental effect on school leaders and their staff, it is also failing pupils and parents.

NAHT argues that the appointment of a new chief inspector for schools is not just timely, it also represents a moment of significant opportunity – an opportunity to stop and think about how we want school inspection to operate in this country and the perfect opportunity to create a fair, proportionate and humane system of inspection that works for everyone.

The report sets out the interim steps required to make inspection safer, alongside the longer-term reforms required to deliver a fair, proportionate and humane inspection system. It says that 'systemic reform of both Ofsted and inspection is required if we are to retain today’s school leaders, give parents the accurate information they need, and make school leadership an attractive career proposition for the future.'

Commenting on the report, NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “The tragic case of Ruth Perry last year shone a bright light on the desperate need for Ofsted reform. It has been immensely frustrating that the concerns of the education profession and the warnings raised by NAHT for so many years have fallen on deaf ears.

“Thankfully, the new Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver, has signalled a welcome change in attitude, indicating his willingness to listen and to work with the profession."

Read the Rethinking School Inspection report.

Read our full press release.

First published 17 January 2024