NAHT, The School Leaders’ Union, has released a report based on findings from a survey of their school business leader members.
The main themes covered within the survey were, pay, well-being and workloads.
They surveyed 369 school business leaders in England between 5 October and 21 October 2021.
The report highlights the many different pressures that the school business leadership profession is facing.
It also makes a series of recommendations about what needs to change to make school business leadership a sustainable career choice.
Key findings from the report
• The number of school business leaders who would recommend school leadership fell by 10% between 2020 and 2021, from 48% to 43%.
• As for other school leaders the pressures are driving worrying mental health and well- being outcomes. 70% reported increased worry fear or stress about their job. An increase of 30% in the last year alone.
• Three quarters (75%) of respondents disagreed that their salary fairly reflects the roles and responsibilities they undertake.
• Almost a fifth (19%) of respondents are planning to leave within the next year.
Urgent and coordinated action is required. This will ensure the sufficient supply of school business leaders for now and in the future.
The government must develop a comprehensive and holistic strategy.
• include initiatives to tackle the workload of school business leaders, integrated with those offered for the leadership profession as a whole
• resolve the issues around the disparity in pay many school business leaders face. They should ensure that school business leaders performing a leadership level role, are able to be paid at an equivalent level to other comparable leadership roles. To support this NAHT is calling for a thorough review of the leadership pay structure. This should include aligning the pay of school business leaders alongside a revised School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD)
• raise the professional status of school business leaders within the sector and schools. This should include working with the sector to develop materials and guidance on how schools can embed and maximise the impact of school business leaders within their staffing structure
• provide greater support to help mitigate some of the systemic barriers to flexible working opportunities for all roles, including school business leaders
• remove the drivers of the mental health and well-being crisis, and provide accessible, fully-funded support for school business leaders.
All these should be underpinned by improving the evidence and data available. It is imperative that the DfE collects and analyses information on all school leadership roles. The department needs to collect separate data on school business leaders, as distinct from other support staff, including those working in central teams. This data should then be shared and utilised in the same way as it is for other parts of the school leadership workforce.