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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.  


Support staff pay award 2024/25

June 2024

The support staff unions (Unison, GMB and Unite) have responded to the full and final pay offer as follows: 

  • Unison will consult with its members, with a recommendation to reject the offer. Consultation will run from Wednesday 5 June to Monday 28 June 2024
  • GMB will ballot its members without recommendation. Balloting will take place between Monday 3 June and midday on Friday 5 July 2024
  • Unite will be holding consultative ballots with its members, with a recommendation to reject the offer.

May 2024

The National Employers have shared their 'full and final, one-year (1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025) offer':

  • An increase of £1,290 (pro rata for part-time employees) to be paid as a consolidated, permanent addition on all NJC pay points 2 to 43 inclusive; this works out as an increase of between 5.77% (for the lowest scale) through to 2.5% (for the highest scale).
  • An increase of 2.5% on all pay points above the maximum of the pay spine but graded below deputy chief officer.
  • An increase of 2.5% on all allowances.

Considering the other aspects of the claim, the employers have stated the following:

  • The Local Government Association will be undertaking a programme of work which will include examining how councils report any pay gaps across their workforce, particularly in relation to employees with certain protected characteristics, and propose the NJC joint secretaries discuss options for working together to capture pay gap information that will be of most benefit to the sector.
  • They reject the proposal for a two-hour reduction in the working week, with no detriment.
  • They reject the proposal for an additional day of annual leave for personal or well-being purposes.
  • They reject the proposal for a phased approach to reaching a minimum pay rate of £15 an hour in a maximum of two years, sooner if possible.

The recognised support staff unions will now review this offer and decide on a response.

Here is NAHT’s statement on the proposed offer:

"Last week the National Employers shared their 'full and final, one-year offer' for support staff across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland for 2024/25. Whilst this remains an offer, and not the final award, NAHT is dismayed that once again, many school business leaders are facing the possibility of one of the lowest pay increases. It cannot be right that leaders who have responsibility for extremely complex business functions in schools, with very significant legal, financial and safety accountabilities, are not entitled to comparable remuneration to their colleagues who exercise similar accountability and responsibility for work focused on teaching, learning and behaviour. Yet, the proposed offer will further serve to narrow the pay scale (such as it is) undermining leadership aspiration and the salary differential for leadership responsibility. This is despite ongoing concerns about the recruitment and retention crisis facing this part of the sector. 

"NAHT takes this opportunity to reiterate our longstanding call for the development of a pay structure for school business leaders, which better recognises the expertise and experience they hold, and which is aligned to the pay of other senior leaders in schools." 

March 2024

The support staff unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) have submitted their pay claim for 2024/25 to the employers. This calls for an increase of at least £3,000 or 10% (whichever is greater) on all spinal column points

Alongside the pay claim, they also ask for:

  • Reviews of the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps in local government.
  • A two-hour reduction in the working week with no detriment 
  • An additional day of annual leave for personal or well-being purposes (with term time only staff also receiving a full day rather than a pro rata amount, that they can use at any time, including term time) 
  • A phased approach to reaching a minimum pay rate of £15 an hour in a maximum of two years, sooner if possible.

You can access full details of the claim here.

February 2024

The unions are expected to submit their pay claim for 2024/25 at the end of February 2024. 

NAHT's view on the local government pay scales

We do not believe that the current local government pay scales offer enough flexibility to recognise the status and seniority of a school business leader (SBL) role, nor do they take account of the growth in the scope and responsibility of SBLs' roles over recent years.

We are clear that in the long term, there should be a national framework that defines the roles and sets out the pay and conditions of all those employed in a national, publicly funded education system, including SBLs. We have repeatedly and extensively made this case to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), including in our latest work, which you can find here.

We continue to call for a significant pay increase for all teachers and leaders, including school business leaders, which is fully funded by the government. In the interim, NAHT has developed member advice around SBL pay and grading to support individuals with their personal circumstances and offer support to individual members with their cases for pay reviews.


First published 13 June 2024