5 reasons to be cautious about Sunak’s teacher pay rise

Stretched school budgets and performance pay are among the obstacles that could prevent all teachers getting the rise

William Stewart

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak is this morning announcing an inflation-busting 3.1 per cent pay rise for teachers for the 2020-21 school year.

But will every teacher actually get that extra money?


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Here are five reasons to be cautious:

1. Schools will have to find the money themselves

Funding for the pay rise will have to come from within schools’ existing budgets.

So, ultimately, whether you get the headline teacher pay rise being announced this morning may depend as much on your school’s finances as the chancellor’s intention.

2. School budgets are already stretched

While schools are currently benefiting from a £7.1 billion increase in funding across three years, the money is not quite enough to reverse the real-terms cuts in schools' budgets since 2009-10.

3. Schools also have Covid-19 costs to absorb

Schools are being hit by the extra expense of the coronavirus safety measures they are having to introduce, without any extra funding for them.

So budgets may already be stretched even before the pressure of funding a teacher pay rise comes along.

4. Performance-related pay will complicate things

The 3.1 per cent headline pay rise announced by the chancellor may not end up benefiting all teachers, as schools are supposed to use performance pay with rises passed on at their own discretion.

In February, a union survey found that less than half (49 per cent) of teachers had received the 2.75 per cent rise agreed by the Department for Education for 2019-20.

5. The DfE favours tailored pay rises

The Department for Education has already said it favours different pay rises for teachers at different stages of their career for September’s pay deal.

Under the plans it submitted in January, newly qualified teachers' salaries would rise from £23,720 to £26,000 – or by 9.6 per cent – outside of London. But more experienced teachers would only get 2.5 per cent.

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William Stewart

William Stewart

William Stewart is News editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @wstewarttes

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