Conservatives do not understand ‘value of school leadership’ – TUC chief

The Conservative government does not understand “the value of school leadership”, a union leader will claim.

Paul Nowak, general secretary of the TUC, will say the job of school leaders has been made “far harder” by the current Government.

Addressing the annual conference of the NAHT school leaders’ union on Friday, Mr Nowak will call for a government that “respects” headteachers.

In a speech to hundreds of school leaders in Newport in Wales, the TUC general secretary will say: “Every child deserves a good education.

“This takes leadership, and we are all grateful to headteachers, assistants, deputies and school business leaders for the incredible job they have done leading schools through difficult times.

“But their job has been made far harder by this Conservative government. School buildings are falling apart, pay has been driven down and teachers are being driven out.”

He will add: “The Tories just don’t understand the value of school leadership.

“Since 2010, pay for headteachers has been slashed by 20%, and that is pushing good leaders out of the profession.

“We can’t go on like this. We need a government that respects school leaders and that invests more in our schools so that every child can flourish.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “We’ve been clear in calling for a series of restorative pay rises for school leaders after more than a decade of real terms pay cuts.

“We have evidenced beyond doubt that a real recruitment and retention crisis exists. Teacher pay is too low and workload too high – it is beyond reproach.”

Mr Whiteman is also due to give a speech at the union’s conference on Friday afternoon.

Delegates are set to debate motions on issues facing schools – including funding and recruitment and retention – over the two-day conference.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Headteachers across the country are doing an excellent job day in day out ensuring pupils have a world class education, and on average they are rightly among the highest 10% of earners in the country.

“At secondary school, heads can receive a total package of well over £130,000 including pension contributions.”