Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said:

“The NEU recognises and celebrates the important role of teachers with subject leadership roles in all our schools and colleges. Their work is pivotal in ensuring the classroom experience for all pupils is consistent, coherent, and challenging.

The pressure that subject leadership has come under over successive years has been immense. This has been exacerbated by the new Ofsted inspection framework as well as the challenges associated with the recruitment and retention of subject-specialists. Many subject leads - especially in Primary schools - are working well over what is expected in contractual terms without additional pay, the training needed or recognition of the promoted status of the role. 

With teacher and recruitment levels still way below Government targets many schools are having to place responsibility on teachers who do not necessarily have the expertise, skill set or experience to take on the role. 

A chronic lack of school funding also places a great strain on schools to meet training budgets to support those taking on leadership roles. This clearly makes the task of taking on a complex role even more daunting.  

This is far from ideal and is a central barrier to the Government's declared national policy aspirations. Teachers taking leadership roles need to be sufficiently guided, supported and trained to take on hard roles at tough times. Subject leads also deserve fair workload and fair pay for the important role they take on.  This needs to be made available to every subject lead, in all contexts, not just the lucky few”. 


Note to editors

We are currently in Bournemouth for our Annual Conference (11-14 April), during which time you will receive a higher number of press releases than usual.  

The Conference Press Office can be reached on 07879 480 061. You can also email the press officer at caroline.cowie@neu.org.uk  

Our conference agenda is available here

The hashtag for Annual Conference is #NEU2022

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe. 
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 

The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.