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.

On this page you can find advice and information for leaders on:

NEU and NASUWT in joint call for a pause to routine Ofsted inspections

Read the joint letter to the Secretary of State calling for a pause on Ofsted inspections until after the February half term. Schools need time and space in the new year to do what they do best – support the learning and wellbeing of pupils. Ofsted inspections are getting in the way of this. 

Please support our letter on Twitter or Facebook

Ofsted experiences – we want to hear from leaders

The NEU is gathering the experiences of leaders for an upcoming campaign on Ofsted. We want to hear our members thoughts and lived experiences of the inspectorate. Specifically, we would like to hear from members who have had recent Ofsted inspections in their school or college who feel the inspection had an impact (either positive or negative) on pupil learning. Contact

NEU leadership membership benefits

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

  • NEU Leadership Guild, the exclusive professional messaging app for our leadership members to allow networking and peer support;
  • Annual Leadership Conference, to share effective leadership models, policies, research and collaborative action for change in education;
  • LEAD, the magazine for NEU Leadership members focused on your professional interests and needs;
  • NEU advice and guidance to leadership members in key professional issues including ethical leadership, equality matters and workload;
  • NEU Adviceline for advice on employment rights, and support from our experienced staff including solicitors based in the regions and nations;
  • Leadership CPD that maximises your opportunity to apply knowledge and practice new skills in a changing education environment

Join us


School leaders and teachers are united in their opposition to the Government’s pay freeze. ASCL, NAHT, NEU and Voice have said that all education staff deserve a significant pay increase, to begin to restore the huge pay cuts against inflation since 2010.

With the economy recovering from the pandemic and earnings across the economy rising significantly, school leaders and teachers are being left behind.  As well as being unfair and undervaluing school leaders and teachers, this will inevitably create new recruitment and retention problems to add to the existing ones.

Read the Joint Statement to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB). The 2021 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) and guidance for England has now been published and is available here. The 2021 STPCD and guidance for Wales is available here.

The NEU is campaigning against the school teacher pay freeze in England and for fair pay for all school leaders, teachers and support staff.

Join the Pay campaign.

Latest leadership Covid update on risk assessments and ventilating indoor work areas 

New risk assessment guidance for September

The DfE advice continues to emphasise the importance of risk assessments that are regularly reviewed and updated.

The joint unions (GMB, NEU, UNISON and UNITE) recommend that leaders consider the following when reviewing risk assessments:

  • The assessment process should have considered all the areas identified in DfE advice (issued separately for schools, FE colleges, special needs settings and early years settings) and in joint union advice (see below), fully evaluate the risk of harm, including local prevalence, and identify the measures to apply in each area.
  • Risk assessments should be conducted and reviewed in consultation with union reps/health and safety reps and staff.
  • Agreed safety measures should be reviewed whenever national or local guidance changes, local rates increase, or new variants become prevalent.
  • Revised procedures should be clearly communicated to staff, students, parents/carers, contractor staff, visitors and visiting workers.
  • The position of the most vulnerable staff should be adequately considered through individual risk assessments.

More information and the joint union safety checklist for schools can be found here. We have updated this checklist to support leaders to put in place appropriate measures that will keep both students and staff safe. Government guidance permits leaders to adopt additional proportionate safety measures where they wish to do so. This checklist sets out a range of measures that we urge settings to adopt as standing practice, subject to review at half-term.

See also NEU advice on planning for and responding to Covid-19 outbreaks in schools and checklist for staff sickness absence policy.

Ventilation and temperature

Ventilating indoor work areas is a key control measure in reducing Covid-19 transmission.

Achieving good ventilation is all about understanding ventilation systems in the workplace (mechanical, natural or both) and checking how well they are performing in removing stale air and bringing in fresh air.  GMB, NEU, UNISON and UNITE have collaborated to produce a five-step guide setting out how employers and union reps can work together so that this can be achieved, including practical measures to monitor and improve ventilation.

Tackling poor ventilation collectively offers the best chance of success.


DfE funded training course for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges

Senior mental health leads in schools and colleges can now book a DfE-funded training course.

From 21 September, state funded schools and colleges can book a place on a training course to help them implement an effective whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing, supporting recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.

Over sixty five courses are available for school and college senior mental health leads, for all levels of experience, learning needs and preferences. DfE is providing grants for up to a third of all schools and colleges to access training in 2020/21, as part of a commitment to offer this training to all schools by 2025.

To find out more about developing a whole school or college approach, learning outcomes for senior mental health leads, what training courses are available, and more information about how to access a grant, please visit this page.

The NEU Mental Health Charter

There are six overarching principles contained in the charter including 'Clear procedures, roles and responsibilities' which is highlighted below. For good mental health to play a central role in the ethos of schools and colleges it must be embedded in relevant policies and practices. These policies and practices must also be monitored and evaluated to see how well they are being implemented. The NEU Mental Health Charter outlines examples of policies and practices which may require review to safeguard the well-being of school and college staff.

Clear procedures, roles and responsibilities

This principle is intended to highlight the importance of clear procedures, roles and responsibilities as a necessary part of mitigating conflict in the workplace. This principle should work together with the principle of support from colleagues.

School and college leaders should:

  • Remember that they have a duty to consult employees on the policies and practices of the workplace.
  • Seek to ensure that every staff member understands the part that other staff members play (consider developing an organisational flowchart for the staff bulletin board or staff handbook).
  • Have a clear definition of roles and responsibilities where possible.
  • Seek to ensure that individuals are not overloaded with responsibility.
  • Where areas of work and responsibility overlap, seek to ensure that individuals are clear about who should take the lead.
  • Seek to ensure that staff members are asked to undertake only those roles and responsibilities they have the skills, training or experience to undertake.
  • Seek to ensure that where two or more managers direct or influence the work of a colleague, those managers keep each other regularly informed of the tasks they have delegated to avoid overloading an individual with work or creating conflicting expectations.
  • Recognise that teachers expect to exercise professional autonomy in the workplace. Allow them to use their judgement and initiative. Provide staff members with a revised job description when their roles and responsibilities change materially.
Mental health
NEU Mental Health Charter

NEU Mental Health Charter

Directed time and whole school well-being

Leadership educators continue to make a huge contribution during this pandemic, working well over what is expected in contractual terms.  School Leaders deserve a fair workload, during a time when there is political pressure for recovery education.

As ethical leaders, the importance of addressing directed time can effectively begin to tackle workload for you and your staff.  Listen to Headteacher and NEU President, Robin Bevan, talking about why he places importance on the directed time calendar in his school.

Let us know the the positive stories you have around directed time and workload.

Leadership CPD

  • Established Heads Coaching Programme – Suitable for experienced leader members with at least 5 years in role who would like to deepen their practice of more advanced leadership mindsets and behaviours.  This 6 month programme combines personalised leadership coaching on a 1:1 basis with opportunities to learn from the experience of a group of peers.  To book click here
  • Leadership masterclass programme: Diversity in Leadership – This 3 part programme will explore diversity, equality and inclusion. Running over 3 terms it is open to all NEU members in leadership positions. Running November 2021 to June 2022. To book click here
  • Leadership masterclass programme: Ethical Leadership - This 3 part programme will explore personal value and beliefs, discuss the ethical framework for leadership in schools and how to navigate scenarios in an ethical way.  Running over 3 terms this programme is open to all NEU members who are middle and senior leaders who are interested in or looking to develop ethical leadership practices in their setting. Running November 2021 – June 2022. To book click here
  • Sense-checking your whole-school approach to assessment – This webinar for leaders will look at making sure your assessment policies and practice have a clear purpose, process and provide valid data.  25 January 2022. To book click here.

Leaders holding school communities together

Leaders are continuing to make incredible efforts to maintain student’s education and staff wellbeing in the face of the current crisis.

Access more videos and articles on the Remote Education Hub which puts educational professionals at the heart of developing practice which supports teaching and learning during lockdown.

Code of Ethical Leadership in Practice

Headteacher and NEU president, Robin Bevan, presents in this video, the Code of Ethical Leadership in Practice and gives examples of how he has used it in his school context. Download the guide below.

Code of Ethical Practice in Leadership

The National Education Union believes ethical leadership should be at the heart of everything we do. Please use this document to help support and inform your leadership style, whether new to management and leadership or experienced. 

Leadership advice and resources

These documents aim to help develop and assist your thinking as a leader and your approach to leadership, applying the NEU’s principles of ethical leadership.

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