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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.  


The Treasury revokes exit payment legislation

​In a substantial win for NAHT members, HM Treasury has confirmed they are revoking the legislation, brought in at the end of last year, that set a £95,000 cap on exit payments ("the cap") for public sector authorities and offices.

"After an extensive review of the application of the cap, the government has concluded that the cap may have had unintended consequences and the regulations should be revoked."

NAHT has long campaigned against the proposals, setting out our opposition in numerous responses dating back to the original proposals in 2015; which we believed would erode the value of redundancy compensation and settlement agreements for school leaders, and represent another, very real worsening of terms and conditions for members.

NAHT was particularly concerned about the inclusion of the cost of any pension strain created as part of an unreduced early retirement entitlement being included in the cap and the impact this was having on members covered by local government schemes and had already seen examples of members with long-service, being disproportionately impacted by these changes.  Given the concerning issues raised here, NAHT had been exploring with a Public Law QC what additional legal challenges could be made regarding the application of the cap generally and also specifically looking at the disproportionate impact on our members whose pensions are in the local government pension scheme.

NAHT, therefore, welcomes the government's decision to revoke this unnecessary and damaging legislation.

For those members who may have been affected by the exit payment legislation and had their exit payments capped (this will be individuals with an exit date between 4 November 2020 and 12 February 2021; not all individuals with such an exit date will have been affected by the exit cap), you should contact your employer to request the amount you would have received had the cap not been in place. NAHT is here to support any members with these conversations. 

First published 15 February 2021