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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.  


Pensions: cost control mechanism and future scheme valuations

The government has announced that the pause of the cost control mechanism will be lifted, and the cost control element of the 2016 valuations process will be completed, which NAHT will be feeding into.

The costs of addressing the discrimination identified in the McCloud judgment will be included in this process. 

What is the cost control mechanism?

The Independent Public Service Pensions Commission recommended in 2011 that the new public service pension schemes should include an employer cost control mechanism to protect taxpayers from unforeseen increases in scheme costs. While the commission recommended a mechanism to protect the taxpayer from increased cost, the final negotiated mechanism is symmetrical and so also maintains the value of pensions to members when costs fall.

Why was the mechanism paused?

In January 2019, following the Court of Appeal's judgment in the McCloud and Sargeant cases, the government announced a pause to the cost control element of the 2016 valuations. The government argued that the uncertainty around member benefits arising from the court judgments made it impossible to assess the value of the schemes to members with any certainty.

Following the publication of the McCloud consultation, the uncertainty about scheme benefits that arose as a result of the McCloud judgment has now been reduced.

The government therefore announced in July 2020 that the cost control mechanism would be un-paused and the cost control element of the 2016 valuations would be completed.

NAHT will ensure that member views are raised with the Department for Education in relation to this through their participation in the Scheme Advisory Board.

Public service pensions: cost control mechanism consultation

In light of the impact of the McCloud judgement, and previous outcomes from the mechanism, the government has launched a consultation seeking views on three changes to the mechanism, which NAHT will be submitting a response to.

First published 22 July 2021