A growing academy trust has given all its teachers a 2 per cent pay rise, despite the government increasing national pay scales by only 1 per cent.
Astrea Academy Trust, previously known as Reach4, has 16 schools in Yorkshire, and recently launched a second hub in the east of England after Cottenham Village College in Cambridgeshire joined it.
It said the size of the trust enabled it to make big enough savings across its schools to fund the extra pay rise.
The news comes two weeks after education secretary Justine Greening announced the government would retain the 1 per cent pay cap for teachers, apart from “a small proportion” at the bottom of the main pay scale, who will receive 2 per cent.
The announcement came amid confusion and a Cabinet split over public sector pay.
Libby Nicholas, chief executive of Astrea Academy Trust, said: “Our teachers are such a valuable asset – they work tirelessly to deliver an education that inspires beyond measure. We appreciate that public spending is extremely challenging right now, but we have decided to top up the national pay increase of 1 per cent, doubling it to 2 per cent for all teaching staff.
“This is quite explicitly about signalling our respect to the profession and how much we value their work.
“The reality is that there can be real economies of scale in operating a trust of Astrea’s size. It is possible to make savings through joint procurement and by providing back office support across a number of schools.
“We felt it was only right and proper to reward our teachers with the savings we have made.”
The pay rise will come in on 1 September 2017.
Ms Nicholas told Tes: “I don’t think it’s going to be a big recruitment driver. What I hope it will do is contribute to our retention drive.”
She said the trust has just recruited its first 15 "ad astra teachers" – existing teaching staff who want to develop their careers but stay in the classroom.
She said they will become specialists in maths, English, science or early years, and work at schools across the trust.
Ms Nicholas added that the decision to create a cluster of Astrea schools in the east of England was part of its strategy of only working in the Opportunity Areas – social mobility "cold spots" that have been allocated a total of £72 million of extra government investment.
However, she said there were no current plans to expand into other Opportunity Areas.