NAHT’s policy conference concluded this afternoon with delegates passing a number of motions into policy and conference receiving an address from the new secretary of state for education.
In his speech, Nadhim Zahawi addressed a number of issues, including school funding, on which he committed to working with NAHT to understand the funding pressures on schools. He also stated that he was currently in the middle of negotiations with the Treasury.
Delegates attending NAHT’s first in-person conference since 2019 also heard the secretary of state confirm his plans for a new education white paper, underlining the need to end "illiteracy and innumeracy", and stated his ambition to identify the root cause of pupil absenteeism.
NAHT responded swiftly to the secretary of state’s speech, issuing a press release which quoted general secretary Paul Whiteman as saying, “Broadly, what we heard from Mr Zahawi today was encouraging. The real test though, is what he is prepared to do immediately, to prise more investment from the Treasury in the Comprehensive Spending Review, and then how he chooses to develop policy in the coming weeks and months”.
Earlier in the day, delegates passed important motions into policy on issues such as school funding, children missing in education and support for maintained nursery schools.
A significant amount of time was put aside to discuss staff well-being, and Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support, delivered a well-received address to delegates in which she reminded school leaders of the importance of paying attention to their own well-being. “Self-care is not self-indulgence”, she told conference, “If school leaders don’t look after themselves, how will they look after others?”.
The previous day had seen general secretary Paul Whiteman tell delegates that their union has ‘never been stronger, larger or more influential’. Prior to the event concluding, Whiteman committed to using NAHT's influence to hold the government to the promises conference had heard this weekend.
Conference came to a formal close with NAHT president Tim Bowen paying tribute to the atmosphere of unity and togetherness which was evident throughout the proceedings, and encouraged delegates to join him in Telford when NAHT meets again for its next annual conference.
You can catch up with all the chat from Twitter by searching the #NAHTconf hashtag and check out our photos from the conference on our Flickr stream. Or, you can relive the entire thing here by watching the recordings of our live stream on our Facebook page.
First published 09 October 2021