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National Employers’ Organisation for School Teachers Evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body - January 2023


Introduction

Five logos - NEOST, LGA, Confederation of school trusts, The Church of England education office, Catholic Education Service.

 

1. The National Employer’s Organisation for School Teachers (NEOST) welcomes the opportunity to submit views in response to the School Teacher’s Review Body’s (STRB) call for evidence in relation to its 33rd remit report. 

 

2. NEOST members include the Local Government Association (LGA), the National Society (Church of England and Church in Wales) for the promotion of Education, the Catholic Education Service, and the Confederation of School Trusts (CST).

3. NEOST is the employer representative body and acts as the single statutory employer representative body when submitting evidence to the STRB. 

Executive summary

4. NEOST’s headline responses to the STRB’s call for evidence relating to the Government’s published remit for the 33rd Report is as follows: 

  • NEOST welcomes the Government’s commitment to a further £2bn for 2023/24 and £2bn for 2024/25 in the 2022 Autumn Statement for the core schools’ budget.
  • NEOST supports the Government’s stated aims in the remit letter:
    • that the STRB’s pay recommendations take into account the Government’s commitment to uplift starting salaries to £30,000, and
    • are cognisant of the cost pressures facing both the school system as a whole and individual schools.
  • NEOST notes there is a tension between what school employers might anticipate or view as a reasonable award for 2023/24, and what they consider to be affordable. We identified an affordability gap of one per cent in our survey, with the majority of schools budgeting for 3 – 3.99 per cent, whilst estimating only a 2-2.99 per cent pay award for 2023 was affordable for all their schools.
  • School financial concerns are balanced against ongoing challenges for the recruitment and retention of all teachers and leaders with serious levels of recruitment and retention difficulties reported across the school system at all levels (particularly experienced teachers and headship positions). This underlines the importance of getting the pay award right. 
  • Noting that the pay bill is one of the highest demands on overall school budgets and noting that not all schools are in the same financial position, NEOST continues to argue that adequate, sustainable funding is needed to ensure any proposed pay award can be fully implemented by all schools. 
  • Our survey evidence also highlights employer awareness about workload pressure and wellbeing concerns for staff. NEOST is concerned that the financial settlement in school must be a factor to assist in improving recruitment and retention without exacerbating existing cost challenges that could exacerbate these issues.
  • NEOST encourages the STRB to remind Government of the unique timetable pressures for this pay review body in relation to the school term time, and Academy Trust financial reporting cycles. NEOST would welcome publication of the STRB’s 33rd Report as early as possible allowing schools to consult, plan and implement any changes to the STPCD within term time, and meeting the implementation date of 1st September (removing the requirement to backdate any such pay award). 

Background

5. The 2021 School Workforce Census (2021 SWC) recorded 465,526 full time equivalent (FTE) teachers (48 per cent of the whole school workforce), that are potentially in scope for any recommended pay award for 2023/24.

6. Teachers pay accounts for a significant percentage of any school’s budget whatever the type of school. The LA and school expenditure report records that 47 per cent of Local authority (LA) maintained school expenditure was on teaching staff in 2021-22.

7. The above report also records that the proportion of LA maintained schools in deficit increased slightly to 8.8 per cent, from 8.4 per cent in 2020-21. This is of real concern and would explain why some employers in our survey indicated that no percentage of pay award is affordable for all of their schools.

8. The School Teacher Pay & Conditions Document (STPCD) is a statutory document that all maintained schools must apply and sets out the minimum starting salaries for all teachers and leaders as well as advisory pay points for classroom teachers.

9. Although Academy Trusts (ATs) are not obliged to follow the STCPD, our evidence suggests the majority of them do. The LGAs’ Employer Link (EL) service carried out research with a group of ATs and discovered that over 70 per cent of them followed the STCPD “to the letter”. A higher percentage also told EL they do follow the STCPD but apply some flexibility to align with their organisational priorities. Surveys of ATs by the CST echoed these findings.

10. The strategic lead for education of children and young people is provided by 152 English LAs. Maintained school pay decisions are delegated to individual schools in regulations under the Education Act 2002. However, local authorities are the employers of teachers in community and voluntary controlled schools.

11. Within an Academy School, the Trust is the employer.

12. The current industrial relations environment (both at national and local level) is challenging, with three unions having held industrial action ballots (for strike action or action short of strike) and a fourth trade union, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) undertaking an indicative ballot on whether to formally ballot for strike action. The nature of this dispute is the 2022 pay award, with unions calling for a fully funded above-inflation pay increase.  To date, the only union reaching the threshold in order to take action is the National Education Union (NEU) although those that did not reach the threshold may consider re-balloting.

13. The NEU ballot of teachers met the minimum threshold levels and a majority of members voted in favour of strike action. The NEU have announced seven days of industrial action, planned as a mix of national and regional days in February and March 2023, with any one school being impacted for a maximum of four days in total. Overall, 90.44 per cent of voting members supported strike action, with turnout of 53.27 per cent, meeting the turnout threshold requirement of a 50 per cent turnout threshold and support from at least 40 per cent of eligible members.

14. We understand that the SoS for Education (Gillian Keegan) is in continued active dialogue with the unions with the aim of resolving the dispute. The DfE have updated guidance for schools to support them managing strike action and the LGA have a series of E-guides on managing strike action for members to access.

STRB remit 2023

15. The Secretary of State’s remit letter was published in November 2022 asks for the STRBs’ recommendations on:

  • An assessment of the adjustments that should be made to the salary and allowance ranges for classroom teachers, unqualified teachers, and school leaders in 2023/24. This should aim to promote recruitment and retention whilst taking into account the Government’s commitment to uplift starting salaries to £30,000 and the cost pressures facing both the school system as a whole and individual schools; and
  • Initial view on areas within the STRB’s scope which would most benefit from future exploration to support the shared aim to provide a coherent and fulfilling career path for teachers and leaders. 



    Therefore, we concentrate our efforts on providing evidence based on the remit above from all school employers in order to best represent and articulate the national employer’s perspective on these matters.

Methodology

16. To inform this evidence and response LAs and Employer Link (EL) members were invited to complete an online survey to inform this response.  We have included the combined results in Appendix A, LA (only) results Appendix B and ATs (only) results in Appendix C. We received 102 responses in total to our survey.  The chart below provides the full breakdown and a comparison of the response rate from last year (2021).

Methodology table
  Specific result reports in which index Number of those invited to respond Responses received Percentage of received responses 2022 Percentage of received responses 2021
Local Authority Responses Appendix B 152 64 42% 41%
Academy Trust Responses Appendix C 256 38 16% 7%

 

17. NEOST is pleased with the response rate bearing in mind the timetable necessitated a survey closure which fell at the end of the busy Christmas term. The significant increase in the response rate from ATs is an encouraging indicator of the levels of engagement with the national employer (NEOST) in respect of providing evidence to the STRB across the whole school system.  

18. LAs and ATs provided views based on a combination of the data they hold, direct feedback from schools where possible, and their own knowledge, and experience.  In addition, this submission benefits from the feedback from nine regional HR networks (members from which provide support to both maintained and academy schools), and a national sounding board of local authority school HR practitioners from every region. We also took soundings via the EL national network of HR leads in Multi Academy Trusts (MATs), this covers approximately 300 academy trusts and over 3,000 academies. 

19. STRB members will notice we have steadily grown our involvement with the academy sector through EL, and this ensures greater confidence that NEOST is informed by and representative of employers across the education sector.  In comparing responses between LAs and ATs they are broadly in-line with one another.  

Results

Pay Policy

20. Minimum starting salaries for teachers rose by 8.9% in 2022, supporting the Government’s commitment to make teaching more competitive in the graduate labour market, with starting salaries now at £28k. It is of note that if recommended by the STRB for 2023 that the proposed increase in the starting salary for teachers in England rises from £28k to £30k, this would equate to a 7.14 per cent pay increase. 

21. Our survey results demonstrated overwhelming (94 per cent) continued support for the proposed £30k starting salary for 2023. An increase of 15 per cent from last year.  See Chart 1 below.  

Chart 1
Yes  96 responses (94%)
No 2 responses (2%)
Don't Know 4 responses (4%)

 

22. In past responses on this issue, NEOST have highlighted that pay awards need to be affordable for all schools and this position remains unchanged.  Our responses continue to show overwhelming agreement of the aspiration of a £30k starting salary to support the recruitment and retention of good teachers but there are also affordability issues which run throughout the feedback from our stakeholders. 

23. When asked how the 2023 pay award should be applied 36 per cent indicated a preference for a graduated increase on the Main Pay Range (MPR) to accommodate the £30k starting salary and a headline figure for M6 and all other pay ranges as was the case in STPCD 2022.  A further 30 per cent indicated a pay award applied to all ranges equally would best support recruitment and retention. It is worth noting that previous surveys have had majority responses saying they would support equal increases across the ranges. This year we asked a more detailed question to test if stakeholders were comfortable with last years graduated implementation on the MPR (which accommodates the increased starting salary). So, these two results are reflective of that on-going view of not differentiating between the different teaching salary ranges, with a slim majority showing they were comfortable with the solution STRB found last year (which was about accommodating the increased starting salary). 

24. A further 22 per cent of responses indicated they would like to see the pay award targeted to address any recruitment and retention pressures (see Chart 2 below).  

Chart 2
Yes, pay award to be applied to all ranges equally 31 responses (30%)
No, pay award to be applied in a targeted way to address any recruitment and retention pressures.  22 responses (22%)
No, graduated increases on the main pay range, to accommodate the £30k starting salary and a headline figure for M6 and all other pay ranges as in STPCD 2022. 37 responses (36%)
Other 9 responses (9%)
Left Blank  3 responses (3%)

 

25. Of those that would like to see a targeted pay award, you will see from Chart 3 below, that 31 per cent went onto to indicate that the MPR should be targeted, whilst a further 31 per cent did not specify which group of teachers or leaders should be targeted.  Only 16 per cent indicated Early Career Teachers. This mixed response, may be a further indication that even where our stakeholders are indicating they would want to see a targeted award, there is no clear national preference on how any proposed pay award for 2023 should be applied. 

In answer to - If a targeted approach is taken, which pay range(s) should be the priority?

 

If a targeted approach is taken, which pay range(s) should be the priority?
Leadership Range 5 responses (5%)
Leading Practitioner 0
Upper Pay Range 3 responses (3%)
Main Pay Range 32 responses (31%)
Early Careers Teachers 16 responses (16%)
Unqualified Teachers  2 responses (2%)
Other  12 responses (12%)
Left Blank 32 responses (31%)

table

26. We tested attitudes on performance related pay and both LAs and ATs indicated a clear preference (72 per cent) for an automatic pay progression (subject to good performance) policy to support recruitment and retention in their schools (Chart 4). 

Chart 4
Option A: Automatic pay progression within a pay range, subject to good performance. 73 responses (72 %)
Option B: Pay directly linked to an individual teacher/leader’s performance i.e. PRP 21 responses (21%)
Other 4 responses (4%)
Don't Know 3 responses (3%)
Left Blank  1 response (1%)

 

27. Of those 73 responses that selected automatic progression, fairness and transparency were the reasons given for the preference of automatic pay progression by 59 per cent of the responder’s (Chart 5).

Chart 5
Process seen as supporting the R & R of good teachers and leaders and seen as “fair” and transparent 60 responses (59%)
Best affordable model i.e. not enough money in the school’s budget to adequately fund pay differentials based on individual’s performance. 3 responses (3%)
Reduce unnecessary bureaucracy 19 responses (19%)
Left Blank  20 responses (20%)

 

Affordability and context

28. NEOST welcomes the additional funding for schools announced in the 2022 Autumn Statement, increasing per pupil funding from that committed at the 2021 Spending Review, which resulted in the core schools’ budget in England, receiving £2 billion of additional funding in each of 2023-24 and 2024-25.

29. NEOST notes that in the STRB’s remit the Government states that it is particularly important that the STRB ‘have regard to the government’s inflation target when drawing up proposals for 2023-24 pay awards.’ The Government has set the Bank of England a target to keep inflation at two per cent and in a speech made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on 4 January 2023, he promised to halve the inflation rate this year.

30. The annual rate of consumer price inflation declined to 10.5 per cent in December, from 10.7 per cent in November and further below the 41-year high of 11.1 per cent in October, according to data released on 18 January 2023 by the Office for National Statistics.

31. The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) Annual Report estimated that as a result of the increases in school funding (representing a 4 per cent increase for 2023-24), ‘school spending per pupil would grow in real terms through to 2024 and will return to at least 2010 levels, even after accounting for the specific costs faced by schools. Obviously the additional £2 billion puts schools in a better position to meet the cost of increases in salaries combined with rapid rises in energy and food costs. However, the IFS went onto comment that no net growth in school spending per pupil over a 14-year period still represents a significant squeeze on school resources. High ambitions for the education sector will also be harder to achieve in an era of further constraints on public spending.’

32. The IFS also reported that the pupil population is expected to decline by 700,000 or 9% between 2024–25 and 2030–31. Concluding that this would reverse all of the increase in the pupil population since 2010–11 and create less demand for school places. However, they added that declining pupil numbers will only reduce spending needs if schools are able to shrink their costs and staff numbers in equal measure.

33. As referred to above, rapid increases in energy bills have resulted in significant unplanned financial pressures across the school system. In September 2022 the government put in place an Energy Bill Relief Scheme to help schools with their energy bills until March 2023.  NEOST welcomes the Government’s confirmation of new levels of financial support for schools, albeit at reduced levels for energy costs until March 2024. However, we understand that some schools are unlikely to meet the criteria set to access support from April 2023 or have very high energy usage/ cost e.g., special schools with hydro pools. Therefore, the significant increases in energy costs and the level of uncertainty around the size of future costs when compared to 2021, will continue to be a significant cost pressure on many school budgets.  

34. Our stakeholders provided their best estimates to our questions around school finances, bearing in mind the volatility of the economy and timetable for response (with some schools reporting they are awaiting exact funding figures for 2023/24), the context of energy costs, forecasts for the rate of inflation (affecting general costs) and the National Living Wage for April 2024 (many school support staff are paid at rates that will be directly affected by this policy based on current projections).

35. We first asked what schools had budgeted for in respect of any estimated 2023/24 pay award for teachers. The results in Chart 6 below show a degree of variation in the percentage uplift estimated with the median average being 3 – 3.99 per cent.

Q11. What is your LA/AT recommendations for schools to budget (expressed as an overall percentage uplift) – in respect of any estimated 2023/24 teachers’ pay award.
0-0.99% 1 response (1%)
1 – 1.99% 0
2 – 2.99% 22 responses (22%)
3 – 3.99% 36 responses (35%)
4 – 4.99% 17 responses (17%)
5%+ 20 responses (20%)
Left Blank 26 responses (6%)

 

36. We followed this up with an additional question around what percentage was thought to be affordable within current finances and the median response was 2 -2.99% (a full percentage point lower than is being budgeted for).  Also of concern is the 13 per cent of combined responses indicating that no increase in teachers’ pay was affordable for all their schools. See Chart 7 below. 

Q12. What would your LA/AT generally consider to be affordable for all schools in your area (expressed as an overall percentage uplift) in respect of any estimated 2023/24 teachers’ pay award.
0 % 13 responses (13%)
0 – 0.99% 4 responses (4%)
1 – 1.99% 11 responses (11%)
2 – 2.99% 38 responses (37%)
3 – 3.99% 25 responses (25%)
4 -4.99% 3 responses (3%)
5%+  
Left Blank  8 responses (8%)

 

37. What appears to be clear from our survey results is that a significant number of schools across the school system are expecting not to be able to fully fund what they are currently budgeting for in anticipation of any pay uplift for teachers in 2023/24. This evidence underlines the affordability challenge in many schools.

38. The Government highlights in the remit this year, that the STRB needs to take into account the ‘cost pressures facing both the school system as a ‘whole and individual schools’. As explained at the start of this report only maintained schools are legally obliged to follow the STPCD but as indicated above our research shows that most ATs also follow the pay ranges, no doubt as a result of needing to recruit and retain good teachers. Therefore, NEOST continues to ask that any proposed pay award is adequately and sustainable funded for all schools.

39. As referenced above the majority of our stakeholders have told us that they have budgeted for a pay award for 2023 in the region of 3 – 3.99 per cent, whilst indicating that only 2-2.99 per cent if affordable. Therefore, NEOST are particularly concerned that 81 per cent of responses, when asked in our survey indicated that any higher than estimated percentage uplift in relation to the teachers’ pay award for 2023/24 would have a significant impact on their budget.

40. As schools cannot set deficit budgets, and our results indicate that the average employer is budgeting for more than it considers affordable, it would appear that employers are already considering making other organisational changes to account for this. The results (Chart 8 below) show that a significant proportion of our stakeholders would need to consider reductions in staff, although 25 per cent have told us it is too early to say which specific roles are likely to be reduced in order to fund a yet to be announced pay award for 2023.  However,11 per cent did indicate a reduction in TA roles would probably be the focus, which if implemented is likely to increase workload for other support staff and teachers and therefore wellbeing issues, impacting negatively on recruitment and retention rates overall.  Workload and wellbeing are already significant issues in schools, which is well documented and supported in the response to our survey (see chart 14).

41. The percentage of potential reductions in TAs is higher in the responses given by LAs, which is to be expected given the higher proportion of TAs in primary schools (and the proportion of primary schools still in the maintained sector). Although TAs are not covered by the STPCD, the role provides a significant resource for school leaders to deploy and helps to support the day-to-day workload of teachers and classes they support (remembering the main reason a third of teachers leave the profession within the first five years is workload ).  Therefore, NEOST is concerned by these survey results which suggest budgetary pressures may end up being met by reducing this important resource, leading to increased teacher workload and a subsequent impact on retention and pupil attainment.  

42. A reduction in Estate and IT budgets would also be considered by 19 per cent of our stakeholders with a further 15 per cent considering a reduction in enrichment activities. NEOST is aware that there are likely to be no ‘easy’ savings to be made in balancing a school’s budgets, as for e.g., delays in planned estate maintenance can result in further deterioration attracting much larger future costs and serious health and safety implications for employers.

Q14 If there will be a moderate or significant impact in reforecasting of budgets, what changes are likely to be considered to balance the schools budget? Please select the top three.
Reduction in staffing – too early to say which roles 75 responses (25%)
Reduction in estate investment/IT/logistical budgets 57 responses (19%)
Reduction in enrichment activities 45 responses (15%)
Reduction in curriculum offer to pupils 38 responses (13%)
Reduction in teaching assistant roles 34 responses (11%)
Reduction in out of hours service (e.g.  breakfast/after schools’ clubs) 19 responses (6%)
Reduction in admin roles 11 responses (4%)
Reduction in teaching roles 9 responses (3%)
Reduction in pastoral support roles 9 responses (3%)
Left Blank 3 responses (1%)

 

43. Solutions to a funding shortfall will generally be of concern, and NEOST is keen to avoid any negative impact on student outcomes. The use of any available reserves would only ever be a short-term fix and not a sustainable way of funding consolidated and future pay awards, so our stakeholders warn against using reserves to fund salaries. Any reduction in overall staffing, student resources or the student offer (inside and outside of school hours) is a concern as according to anecdotal evidence schools do not tend to be over resourced following a significant number of finance related restructures in recent years. 

44. Our stakeholders highlighted, primary school, smaller schools and special schools are most likely to have the biggest difficulty in managing their budgets next year (see Chart 9 below). It is highly likely that with a lower pupil teacher ratio than mainstream school, Pupil Referral Units will also face similar difficulties.

Q15 School finances – Which, if any types of schools, are experiencing the greatest difficulty?
Primary  45 responses (44%)
Secondary 8 responses (8%)
Special Schools 18 responses (18%)
Alternative Provision  
Smaller Schools 25 responses (25%)
Left Blank 6 responses (6%)

 

Recruitment

45. The latest initial teacher training census statistics for 2022/23 recently published by the DfE show the percentage of the Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (PGITT) target achieved for all subjects (secondary and primary) was 71 per cent. This is a decrease of 26 percentage points, down from 97 per cent in 2021/22. The target achieved for trainee secondary teachers was 59 per cent down from 79 per cent in 2020/21. The DfE reported that this was ‘driven by a decrease in the number of new entrants to PGITT (of 6,869) and an increase in the target (from 31,030 in 2021/22 to 32,600 in 2022/23)’. However, this appears to be a long-term trend as the PGITT secondary target has not been met since 2012/13, except in 2020/21.  Clearly recruitment and retention issues are reflected in our survey too. For employers, this is a very concerning picture, because creating a pipeline of future talent is critical.

46. The latest Ofsted annual report also commented that ‘recruitment continues to be a frustration for schools’ with ‘schools reporting shortages of teaching assistants ….’ ‘which can make it difficult to pitch the education or training at the right level. They explained that schools have also continued to experience COVID-related staff absences, resulting in high demand, making it difficult to recruit supply teachers, so many schools have used their own staff to cover absences, which increases workloads. Managing with fewer staff slows the pace of intervention when children need extra help. And it has delayed the return of sports, drama, music and other enrichment activities that are normally part of the school experience. In some special (and mainstream) schools, they found recruiting staff with SEND expertise has been difficult, and staff turnover has been higher than pre-pandemic. They conclude by commenting that ‘Professionals working in education are extremely valuable. We entrust them with our children, to help them learn and keep them safe. And successful teachers, carers, tutors and trainers all play their part in supporting the economy and advancing society. The sectors need to be able to recruit and retain talented and capable people.’

47. As detailed in the Ofsted report above, our stakeholders also continue to report similar levels of recruitment and retention difficulties across the school system and for the majority of roles.  Primary schools are finding it most difficult to recruit head teachers, closely followed by experienced teachers as shown in Chart 10 below.

Q17 Are primary schools in your local authority area currently experiencing difficulties with recruitment of Heads, Senior Leadership, Experienced Teachers, Early Careers Teachers
  1 2 3 4 5
Heads 5 responses

(6%)
11 responses

(13%)
24 responses

(28%)
27 responses

(31%)
20 responses

(23%)
Senior Leadership 4 responses

(5%)
21 responses

 (24%)
26 responses

(30%)
30 responses

(34%) 
6 responses

(7%)
Experienced Teachers 1 response

(1%) 
15 responses

(17%)
26 responses

(29%)
31 responses

(34%)
17 responses

(19%)
Early career teachers  11 responses

 (12%)
27 responses

(30%)
22 responses

(24%) 
20 responses

(22%)
10 responses (11 %)

 

48. Secondary schools report the most difficulty in recruiting Experienced Teachers (Chart 11).  This may be due to schools actively seeking to recruit ‘job ready’ teachers who do not fall under the two-year Early Careers Framework provisions and can quickly support continued school improvement hence attracting less statutory required development and resources as well as representing good value for money, as they have attracted smaller pay increases in recent years.  Whatever the drivers, difficulties in recruiting experienced teachers are likely to have numerous negative implications for e.g., mentoring for Early Career Teachers and for ‘catch up’ tutoring for those children who may have fallen behind academically due to the pandemic etc.

Q16 Are secondary schools in your local authority area currently experiencing difficulties with recruitment of Heads, Senior Leadership, Experienced Teachers, Early Careers Teachers
  1 2 3 4 5
Heads

7 responses

 (9%)

15 responses

 (19%)
26 responses

 (32%)

 
22 responses

(27%)
11 responses

(14%)
Senior Leadership 0 response (0) 26 responses (31%) 33 responses (39%) 19 responses (23%) 6 responses (7%)
Experienced Teachers

0 response (0)

9 responses

 (10%)

30 responses

 (35%)

24 responses

 (28%)
23 responses

(27%)
Early Careers Teachers

 5 responses (6%)

 21 responses (24%) 26 responses (30%) 24 responses (28%) 10 responses (12%)

 

Retention

49. Primary schools report the most difficulty retaining Experienced Teachers, closely followed by Head Teachers as shown in Chart 12.

Q19  Are primary schools in your local authority area currently experiencing difficulties with retention of Heads, Senior Leadership, Experienced Teachers, Early Careers Teachers
  1 2 3 4 5
Heads 12 responses

(15%) 
25 responses (31% ) 21 responses (26%) 20 responses

(25%)
3 responses

(4%)
Senior Leadership 8 responses

(9%)
27 responses

(31%)
33 responses

(38%)
18 responses

(21%)

 
0 responses

(0%)

 
Experienced Teachers 3 responses

(3%)
21 responses

 (24%)
33 responses

(38%)
27 responses

(31%)

 
3 responses

(3%)
Early Careers Teachers 6 responses

(7%)
25 responses

(29%)
33 responses

(39%) 

 
19 responses

(22%)
2 responses

(2%)

 

50. This is echoed by secondary schools also who in the main are finding it most difficult to retain Experienced Teachers but report significant difficulties across all levels of teaching including Early Career Teachers, Head Teachers and especially for ATs, Senior Leadership.  Please see Chart 13.

Q18 Are secondary schools in your local authority area currently experiencing difficulties with retention of Heads, Senior Leadership, Experienced Teachers, Early Careers Teachers
  1 2 3 4 5
Heads 11 responses

(14%)
27 responses (34%) 19 responses (24%) 15 responses (19%) 8 responses

(10%)
Senior Leadership

8 responses

(10%)

29 responses

(35%) 
25 responses

(30%)
16 responses

(19%)
6 responses

(7%)
Experienced Teachers 2 responses

(2%)
19 responses

(22%) 
35 responses

(41%)
19 responses

(22%)
11 responses

(13%)
Early Career Teachers 4 responses

(5%)
22 responses

(26%)
32 responses

(38%)
22 responses

( 26%)
4 responses

(5%)

 

51. The existing recruitment and retention challenges of all teachers across the school system, and in particular experienced teachers and leaders are balanced against ongoing concerns around financial constraints which underlines the importance of getting the pay award and funding settlements right. 

52. We introduced a new question to our survey this year to try and dig a little deeper into what our stakeholders felt was driving their recruitment and retention difficulties, bearing in mind existing research in the sector that highlights that pay is an important factor, but not the most important factor in terms of why teachers leave the profession. Therefore, it may come as little surprise that our stakeholders ranked ‘workload’ as the most significant factor when considering the retention challenges for schools (see Chart 14).  This was closely followed by ‘wellbeing’ with the ‘level of pay’ coming third out of 5 possible options. This suggests that pay remains hugely important, but that workload and wellbeing also need urgent attention. 

Q20 How significant are the following factors for recruitment and retention challenges for schools?
  1 2 3 4 5
Level of Pay 5 responses

(5%)
11 responses

(11%)

 
25 responses

(26%)
31 responses

(32%)
25 responses

(26%)
Workload 0 response

(0)

2 responses

(2%)

7 responses

(7%)
31 responses

(32%)
57 responses

(59%)
Wellbeing

0 response

 (0)

4 responses

(4%) 
16 responses

(16%)
42 responses

(43%)
35 responses

(36%)
OFSTED 3 responses

(3%)

17 responses

(18%)

33 responses

(35%)
26 responses

(28%) 
15 responses

(16%)
Levels of Deprivation 6 responses

 (6%)
27 responses

 (29%)
30 responses

(32%)
15 responses

(16%)
15 responses

(16%)

 

53. Stakeholders were asked to give their views on geographical challenges. NEOST has consistently argued there is not one national picture for schools, and that schools have different financial and place-based challenges, this is reflected in these responses (Chart 15), indicating that that smaller schools followed by schools in rural areas are most likely to face the most significant challenges in recruiting and retaining good teachers and experienced capable school leaders. 

Q21 How significant are the following geographical factors for recruitment and retention challenges for schools?
  1 2 3 4 5
Coastal Towns 22 responses

(34%)
4 responses

(6%)
11 responses

 (17%)
15 responses

(23%)
12 responses

(19%)
Rural Communities 14 responses

(20%)
6 responses

(8%)
12 responses

(17%)

 
25 responses

(35%)

 
14 responses

(20%)
Urban/Inner City 8 responses

(11%) 
17 responses

(24%)

 
21 responses

(30%) 
19 responses

(27%) 
6 responses

(8%)
Smaller Schools 5 responses

 (6%)
7 responses

(9%)
21 responses

(27%)
25 responses

(32%)
19 responses

(25%)

 

 

Broader structural changes

54. The STRB had asked NEOST to provide evidence asking ‘if the STPCD sufficiently recognises and supports distinct career stages and roles’?  As shown in Chart 16, a slight majority of our stakeholders agreed that it did.

Q22 Does the current STPCD sufficiently recognise and support distinct career stages and roles?
Yes 58 responses (56 %)
No 44 responses (43%)
Left Blank 2 responses (1%)

 



55. However, when asked, 61 per cent of responders agreed there were roles that did not currently fit into the STPCD framework that they would want to see, so this indicates areas of revision to the STPCD that our stakeholders would welcome.   The top three (Chart 17) were Executive Head, Head of School and Chief Executive Officer.

Q24 If you indicated YES to Question 23, please select from the options below.
Chief Executive Officer 30 responses (17 %)
Executive Head 48 responses (28%)
Head of School 37 responses (21%)
Education Director 20 responses (12%)
Head of School Improvement 18 responses (10%)
Other 8 responses (5%)
Left Blank 12 responses (5%)

 

56. This view is supported by recent EL research which found that the majority of Trusts had made significant changes to these central teams, supporting the idea that there is a gap between the roles that are formally covered by the STCPD and the role that Trusts have developed that are informally covered.

57. Our national school workforce sounding board, discussed the above survey results in Chart 17 and the issues and potential solutions related to the existing and emerging leadership roles and structures in many ATs and maintained schools that are not included in the STPCD. It was agreed that a review of the STPCD professional duties of Head Teachers and Deputy Head Teachers and Assistant Head Teachers would be needed as and when the STCPD ‘catches up’ with practice on the ground (especially if academies were to be more formally included) in order for greater clarity at a system level for leadership roles and responsibilities e.g., Executive Head Teacher and Head of School roles  as this would provide a helpful framework for schools in relation to recruitment, pay, performance management, and greater clarity of responsibilities between these leaders to support development and for career pathways going forward.

58. The majority (67 per cent) of our stakeholders who responded to our survey indicated that they wished to retain the Upper Pay Range, with 73 per cent of response’s agreeing that the current guidance setting out the criteria for UPR needs to be reviewed and updated (Chart 18). This supports discussions among the NEOST advisors who report that schools would welcome greater clarity and less ambiguity on the test for an individual teacher to move into the UPR. 

Q27. Does the current guidance setting out the criteria for Upper Pay Range teachers need to be reviewed?
Yes 75 responses (73 %)
No 16 responses (16%)
Don't Know 10 responses (10%)
Left Blank 1 response (1%)

 

59. The vast majority (74 per cent) agreed that the current guidance on setting school leader pay also needs to be reviewed to take into account the emerging leadership models and the pay framework (see Chart 19 below which sets out the rational for review that stakeholders expressed a view on).

The rational for review that stakeholders expressed a view on
To take into account current and emerging leadership models in schools 60 responses (32%)
To review the framework for setting leadership Pay 56 responses (30%)
To review the framework in which a Head Teacher can be paid over 25% of the range 43 responses (23%)
Left blank 27 responses (15%)

 

60. Our stakeholders have for many years asked for specific employer led changes to the STPCD and this continues to be the case as shown in Chart 20 below.  In particular allowing teachers to voluntarily move back to the MPR from the UPR, to review the number of years that salary protection applies and for the introduction of an apprenticeship pay range. These are all changes that should be prioritised from an employer’s perspective. 

Chart 20
  No Yes Don't know Left blank
Ability of Upper Pay Range teachers to voluntarily move back to main pay range within the school they are currently working. 2 responses

(2%)    
95 responses

(94%)
    4 responses

(4%)
    0 responses

0

 
A review and reduction of salary safeguarding from 3 years 7 responses

 (7%)
    86 responses

(84%)
     7 responses

(7%)    
2 responses

(2%) 

 
Introduction of an apprentice pay range 18 responses

 (18%)    
61 responses

(60%)
    21 responses

(21%)
     2 responses

(2%) 

 

61. NEOST therefore invites DfE to enter into discussions with us in order to inform the prioritisation of the above reviews and to be actively involved in early discussions involving careful consideration to the phasing and timing of any agreed reviews. NEOST accepts that movement from UPR to MPR and pay safeguarding changes would be controversial with teaching trade unions, but our stakeholders are very clear that a significant number of teachers request to move from UPR to MPR for numerous reasons including as part of their retirement plan or for personal life choices and wellbeing, and if employers were able to agree this change, we suggest it could have a positive impact on retention levels.  Currently even if employers wanted to agree the teacher’s request, they are legally unable to under the current STPCD regulations.

62. As always, we remind the STRB that any agreed changes are likely to involve wide scale system wide changes that employers will need adequate time to plan, cost, consult and implement any proposed new arrangements.

63. NEOST encourages the STRB to remind Government of its unique timetable pressures in relation to the term time, and Academy Trust financial reporting cycles. NEOST would welcome publication of the STRB’s 33rd Report as early as possible allowing schools to consult, plan and implement any pay awards by the STPCD within term time, and meeting the implementation date of 1st September (removing the requirement to backdate any such pay award). 

Appendices