Heads' leader tells of 'heartbreak' at cuts that mean 'I can’t pay everyone anymore'

NAHT's new president vows to make funding, workload and accountability his main priorities in the coming year

NAHT president Andy Mellor

The new president of the NAHT heads' union revealed today how budget cuts have forced him to dismantle the team that took his school from "requires improvement" to "outstanding".

Blackpool headteacher Andy Mellor takes over as the NAHT president today and will outline funding, workload and accountability as his three main priorities.

Mr Mellor praised his team at St Nicholas CE Primary for taking the school from "requires improvement" to "outstanding", which he attributed to “joint efforts and commitment.”

However, he told delegates of his "heartbreak" at having “to start disassembling that team because we don’t physically have the funds in that school to be able to keep it together".

“School cuts mean I can’t pay everyone any more," said Mr Mellor.

Mr Mellor is warning that the schools are facing a funding crisis and has suggested the government could ease the burden by exempting schools from having to pay the apprenticeship levy.

'A costly and unfair burden on schools'

He said: “We have to pay in, but we get nothing out of that system. At a time when schools budgets are at breaking point, the apprenticeship levy is a costly and unfair burden on schools."

Mr Mellor will also urge the government to do more to make the teaching profession feel valued.

“Standards are rising but, without proper funding, they will begin to fall," he said.

"If the government is serious about raising standards, tackling workload and retaining the staff we have, never mind recruiting more, they need to value the workforce that they currently have.

"I don’t think this is happening at the moment. If you don’t remunerate people properly, if you don’t value them, they’ll leave and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now.

'Recruitment and retention pipeline is leaking'

"Teacher recruitment and retention is a pipeline that is leaking at both ends, with too few new recruits coming in and too many experienced staff leaving prematurely.”

Mr Mellor also highlighted that for the fourth consecutive year the NAHT’s annual survey of school leaders has revealed that schools are struggling to recruit to all roles.

“I’m probably pre-empting the secretary of state when he speaks to us later, but a heartfelt thank you in a ministerial speech doesn’t pay the mortgage.

"If you ask people to do their job better but with fewer resources, you don’t value them.

"They’ll walk away and go somewhere else where they do feel valued, where they are paid according to the hours they work and where they ar­e given the tools to do their job.

"The underfunding and under prioritisation of education has got to the point where it’s actually doing irreparable damage.

"For graduates to not want to come into teaching because they are undervalued and can earn a living more easily elsewhere is disastrous because it is the best job in the world.”

 

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