NEU is the second largest union for leaders and managers across the entire education sector. School leaders and college managers are vital to the NEU as they are in a strong position to influence and implement policy. The union sees the great value of supporting and helping to develop ethical leaders who lead and shape the future of education.

The NEU understands the complex and professionally demanding work done by school leaders and college managers. We offer advice that will assist leaders in finding their way through these challenges.   We support leaders to stand together with other educational professionals to inform NEU policy that benefits teaching and learning and the education system.

Find out more about issues affecting school leaders and managers:

NEU Leadership offer

As part of the NEU Leadership support and advice package you will have access to:

LEAD, the magazine for NEU Leadership members focused on your professional interests and needs;

Bespoke CPD support for NEU leaders on issues and training needs which you have identified as important to your professional development;

NEU support and advice to leadership members in key professional issues including continual development of ethical leadership policy, full casework support from NEU Adviceline and support from our experienced staff including a solicitor based in each region and Wales.

NEU Leadership membership includes:
  • Headteacher/principal
  • Deputy headteacher/vice-principal
  • Head of centre/school/college (post-16)
  • Assistant headteacher/assistant principal
  • CEO/executive head/leader of a multi-academy trust
  • Director / assistant director of education
  • Business manager/bursar/FE manager/FE finance manager


Ofsted Inspection: Advice for School Leaders

School leaders have difficult decisions to make, juggling high stakes accountability measures from Ofsted and the responsibility for ensuring their own wellbeing, and the workload of teachers, staff and pupils in schools.

The NEU advice on Ofsted inspections recommends that leaders with SLT members, should arrange a meeting with staff to discuss concerns in relation to the Ofsted inspection framework. 

NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted said: “This framework is not fit for purpose, and by definition nor is Ofsted. With this guidance we are reminding members of their rights and assuring them that the NEU will continue to act as the watchdog’s watchdog until Ofsted is abolished.”

The NEU has written a letter to Amanda Speilman, the chief inspector for Ofsted, outlining the complaints received from members about the excessive workload, stress and pressure being placed upon them as they prepare for, and/or undergo, an Ofsted inspection under the new framework.

Act now, and act together!

  • Don’t wait for Ofsted to arrive before you tackle these issues. Use this advice to make a difference.
  • NEU recommends that Leaders, with SLT members, should arrange a meeting with staff to discuss concerns collectively.
  • NEU recommends that heads work collaboratively with other heads in the area, in order to share approaches to when inspections takes place.
  • If you need further advice or support, contact your local NEU officers

School funding

Following the DfE’s publication last Friday of cash allocations for schools. The NEU headline is that around 16,500 schools – 83% - are losing out when compared to 2015.  

Education Executive reported that:

The School Cuts coalition says that despite Boris Johnson’s boasts of “levelling up”, the truth is stark:

  • 16,523 schools will have cuts in April 2020 compared to 2015
  • The average cut per pupil is £245 for a primary pupil
  • The average cut per pupil is £304 for a secondary pupil

Is your school on the list? Visit School Cuts to see how your school is affected.

Fair Funding for Nursery Schools

Leaders in education know that every child should be able to access early education and get the best start in life.  Nursery schools educate around 40,000 children and are facing severe cuts in provision or even closure. The majority are located in the poorest parts of the country and can be the only opportunity for early education, for many families.

The NEU, in partnership with The All Party Parliamentary Group on Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes, Early Education, and the NAHT are inviting all headteachers and chairs of governors of maintained nursery schools to sign this letter to the Chancellor calling for an urgent solution to the funding crisis they face. 

We have sent out a campaign pack to every nursery which includes a letter for heads to send to parents, leaflets, a staffroom poster and paper copies of the online petition which now has almost 17,000 signatures.

Visit our campaign page for full details.

SEND Education and Funding

The legal challenge by SEND families against inadequate Government funding, has lost in the High Court. Mary was quoted widely about our disappointment, and the NEU’s determination to continue to fight for the provision parents need.  Read Mary Bousted’s comments in Education Executive.

The Government’s review of SEND education was announced in early September. Read Kevin Courtney’s comment in Education Executive that we need urgent action, not further prevarication.

See how you can get involved in the SEND funding campaign here.

Baseline Assessment

Headteachers and teachers are speaking out against Baseline testing for 4 year olds and becoming increasingly concerned about the negative impact which recent curriculum changes and testing are having in our schools. Baseline is due to be implemented in 2020, with a large-scale pilot in 2019. There is ample time to stop it, and in the process to make the case about everything else that is wrong with primary assessment. Sign the petition here to show your support.

Read more about the NEU’s Assessment campaign here.

School Teachers’ Review Body - joint union response

The NEU, ASCL, NAHT and Voice have sent a joint response to the Secretary of State’s consultation on the STRB report on teacher pay in England.  The joint union response calls on the Secretary of State to set aside his predecessor’s recommended 2.75% pay increase for teachers from September in favour of a fully-funded 5% increase.  Such an increase should be the start of a programme to urgently restore the value of teacher pay following the real-terms cuts against inflation since 2010. 

Details of the NEU’s Pay campaign can be found here.

Workload Reduction Toolkit

Unacceptable workload has an adverse impact on teacher recruitment and retention. The annual Teacher Workforce census conducted by the Department of Education reported a further decline in retention rates. .

The Workload Challenge was launched in 2014 by the Government, and even if school leaders fully endorsed and implemented the findings from the reports offering advice on marking policies, planning and teaching resources and data management, they would only be scratching the surface. Government advice to all headteachers on how to take action can be found here.  The online toolkit developed in consultation with the education unions and Ofsted, sets out that the process should be collaborative involving all staff to ensure that workload is reduced.

The aim of the NEU’s workload campaign is to bring about a sustainable reduction in the workload of education workers. See how you can get involved with the campaign here.

Menopuase Guide for School Leaders

NEU leadership members are key to supporting women going through the menopause in the workplace. As a leader, you’re not alone. Collaboration between leaders, governors, workplace reps, health and safety reps and a staff support network can go a long way towards creating a supportive environment for women experiencing menopause symptoms at work.

Implementing a few simple steps will encourage good relations among your staff and will avoid unnecessary disputes arising.  The NEU menopause advice and checklist for leaders can be found here.

Equality Matters

A key priority of the union, to ensure all members have a voice in the union, the classroom and broader society, and do not face barriers to promotion, representation or participation. We believe that all children and young people should have equal access to a good school and an education system which treats staff and those they teach fairly.

A new interactive website has been launched this week to support schools to develop an inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE) and help tackle sexism and sexual harassment. The NEU has supported this resource and been a key partner in developing it. You can access the full resources via the AGENDA website. We would love to hear how you are using it to tackle issues such as sexual harassment. Get in touch by emailing

Protect workers from sexual harassment

The NEU has joined a TUC-led alliance under the banner #ThisIsNotWorking.  An environment where sexual harassment is permitted to continue is harmful to everyone – education professionals, pupils and students alike. We are calling on the Government to introduce a new law to require employers to take all reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation.

Please sign the petition and encourage your staff to do the same. The Government must recognise that sexual harassment is an equality issue and a health and safety issue.

Health and safety advice – stress risk assessment

Doing something about stress in schools may seem daunting to head teachers/principals and other managers. You may not know where to start. The NEU does not seek to blame school leaders for this situation. Stress is undoubtedly more difficult to tackle than, say, a straightforward slip/trip hazard.

The NEU wants to provide assistance to head teachers/principals and others who are responsible for tackling stress in schools and colleges, and who may be daunted by the prospect. We recognise that a collective approach, involving management and trade union representatives, will lead to the best possible outcome.

By following our simple step-by-step guide to undertaking a risk assessment, you will meet your legal obligations without creating a huge bureaucratic burden for yourself. You are likely to wish to adopt a similar approach in respect of support staff.

  • National CPD label event page
    Transactional analysis

    The course is divided into two parts allowing participants to try techniques and ideas back in the classroom and then reflect on their practice.