Pause teacher pay so private sector keeps up, says DfE

Despite acknowledging teachers' 'huge contribution' to Covid effort, education secretary justifies no pay rise next year
15th December 2020, 5:17pm

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Pause teacher pay so private sector keeps up, says DfE

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/pause-teacher-pay-so-private-sector-keeps-says-dfe
Teacher Pay: There Should Be No Teacher Pay Rise Next Year, Says Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has justified not giving teachers a pay rise next year because he says it would significantly widen the existing gap between public and private pay.

In a letter to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), the independent body that advises on teacher pay, Mr Williamson said this approach would allow the government to protect public sector jobs and public services.

In the letter, dated today, he acknowledges that teachers have made a "huge contribution to the nation's efforts" during the Covid pandemic and that they have "shown extraordinary dedication and flexibility in adapting to different ways of working, while continuing to provide high-quality education for all pupils during this uniquely difficult period".


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Yet he says: "As the chancellor set out, Covid-19 is significantly impacting the economy, labour market and the fiscal position and has surpressed earnings growth and increased redundancies in the private sector.

Gavin Williamson recommends no teacher pay rise

"If we carried on with blanket across-the-board pay rises, the existing gap between the public sector rewards and the private sector would widen significantly.

"This approach will also allow us to protect public sector jobs and public services. Therefore, it is right to temporarily pause pay awards for the majority of the public sector as we assess the impact Covid-19 has had on the wider economy and labour market."

Mr Williamson says the pause would only apply to "headline pay uplifts" and that other payments, such as progression pay and allowances, will continue as before.

Mr Williamson also indicates that the £30,000 starting salary may not kick in from 2022, as previously pledged. 

He says: "Although pay restraint means that progress towards achieving £30,000 starting salaries will be slower, I am still committed to raising pay for new entrants to make teaching an attractive graduate option."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced last month that there would be a public sector pay freeze, apart from for doctors and nurses and a further £2.1 million for public sector workers who earn below £24,000 - who will receive a pay rise of at least £250.

In the letter, addressed to STRB chair Patricia Rice, Mr Williamson adds: "We would welcome your views on uplifts for those earning the full-time equivalent of basic earnings of less than £24,000. We propose to continue pay uplifts for these teachers at a value of £250 or the National Living Wage increase, whichever is higher."

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