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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.  


NAHT’s submission to STRB for the 2022/23 pay award

NAHT has submitted its evidence to the STRB opposing the DfE's proposal for differentiated pay uplifts.

NAHT’s evidence supports the plans to uplift starting salaries to £30,000 per annum by 2023/24. But our support is contingent on:

  • the two-year uplifts delivering restoration of all salaries and allowances in payment to offset the 15% real-terms reduction experienced by school leaders over the last decade
  • ensuring that any such award also takes account of the recent steep rise in inflation (currently 5.5% for CPI and 7.8% RPI), to protect salaries against further real terms losses
  • uplifts being future proofed against other known drivers of further inflationary pressures that will reduce real income levels 
  • an agreed collaborative process through which the Review Body engages statutory consultees in the co-design of a new holistic pay structure for the profession covering both teaching and leadership roles, in order to support the career continuum and retention.

NAHT is opposed to the DfE's plan, set out in its evidence, for differentiated pay awards in favour of early career teachers. DfE has proposed:

  • Uplifting the M1 salary point (min entry point for QTS) to achieve £30k starting salary by

I. 8.9% in 2022/23
II. 7.1% in 2023/24 

  • Tapered rises for points M2 to M6 of between:

I. 8.0% (M2) and 4.0% (M6) in 2022/23
II. 7.1% (M2) and 2.0% (M6) in 2023/24

  • Flat rate increases to all UPR and LPR points of

I. 3% in 2022/23
II. 2% in 2023/24

NAHT believes that experienced teachers and leaders should receive the same uplift as those entering the profession. This would go some way to reversing real-terms losses suffered by leaders since 2010, of 15% against CPI and 27% against RPI inflation.

Below is NAHT’s response to the DfE’s proposals:  

“NAHT is clear that the DfE’s much-trumpeted pay ‘flexibilities’ have failed. The removal of mandatory pay points and pay portability, and the introduction of performance-related pay, have not served to make teaching a more attractive career option, or improved teacher or leadership retention. In fact, leadership salaries have fallen by 15% against CPI and 27% against RPI since 2010. Research findings have demonstrated that performance-related pay progression systems have driven additional workload in schools while delivering no appreciable benefits.“

“Despite numerous calls from the sector – including the School Teacher’s Review Body – for a full equality impact assessment evaluating these significant changes to the pay framework, the Department has thus far failed to undertake this. By contrast our evidence to the STRB makes clear the yawning gender pay gap at leadership levels.

“What’s needed is the restoration of teachers’ and leaders’ real pay to 2010 levels; a reformed national pay structure with mandatory minimum pay points and pay portability; and the removal of performance-related pay progression. NAHT again calls on the Government to work collaboratively with trade union stakeholders to conduct a full review of the pay framework, including a comprehensive evaluation by the Department for Education to identify and remove the sources of pay inequality affecting gender and other protected characteristics.

“It is right for the DfE to suggest a move towards finally getting to the promised £30K starting salary. But after many years of real-terms pay cuts, including this year’s pay freeze, all teachers and leaders need their pay to be restored. The current suggestion for differentiated pay would mean that higher starting salaries for ECTs are essentially being paid for by lower uplifts for experienced teachers and leaders – making experienced professionals worse off. This would be yet another real-terms pay cut for leaders while inflation is soaring and due to rise even further. 8.0% and 7.1% over two years should be applied to all salaries, which would be a step towards restoring pay to 2010 levels. Once again DfE is failing to heed the many years of evidence from both unions and the STRB.”

Read our submission the Review Body

Read NAHT’s joint statement on pay, with sister unions NEU, ASCL, VOICE and NASUWT.

First published 09 March 2022