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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.  


How has the Early Career Framework (ECF) landed in schools?

​NAHT’s latest survey report gauges the views of school leaders on the impact of the new mandatory two-year induction​ period for new teachers. Read the report.

Key findings


  • A majority of school leaders (55%) support the extended two-year support offered by the ECF. However, a minority (30%) have yet to be convinced that the extended period is appropriate
  • An overwhelming majority of school leaders (95%) said that the ECF generates new and additional workload for Early Career teachers (ECTs). Almost all respondents (99%), who expressed an opinion, told us that the ECF negatively impacts the workload of mentors. This threatens the policy intent underpinning the longer induction period to the extent that it could exacerbate rather than improve early-career retention rates
  • Reactions to the ECF delivery offer are mixed in terms of access to providers, the quality of their materials and their potential to impact the quality of teaching.


NAHT’s recommendations


  • There is an urgent need to reduce the workload associated with the ECF for new teachers and their mentors. The Department for Education (DfE) should review providers’ practices to ensure that programmes can be delivered and managed within the time made available for the programme during working hours
  • NAHT warned that late implementation and the continuing pandemic would create challenging conditions for a full rollout. The DfE must immediately resolve confusion over requirements and create flexibility for ECTs and mentors to focus on the matters that matter most for their individual context and circumstances
  • The ECF was originally conceived as a programme of support for newly qualified teachers rather than an early career curriculum. The DfE should return to this original intention by securing much greater flexibility for schools in delivering providers’ programmes and prioritising professional agency, autonomy, and independence.


Read the full report.


First published 16 December 2021