Concerns over DfE teacher pay consultation

Department will not publish methodology for determining pay grants for schools until after consultation on teacher pay

pay, teacher pay, consultation, strb, dfe, neu, mary bousted, naht

The Department for Education has come under fire after it emerged that it will not publish key details about its teacher pay award until after a consultation on its proposals has closed.

Education secretary Damian Hinds last week announced a pay increase of 3.5 per cent for teachers on the unqualified and main pay ranges, 2 per cent for those on the upper pay range, and 1.5 per cent for leaders.

This departed from the recommendation from the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) that all teachers should receive a 3.5 per cent rise.

The DfE also said it would use a new £508 million grant to give schools money for pay rises above 1 per cent.

The government has asked for comments on the STRB’s report and its response by 3 September.

However, the DfE told Tes it will not publish its methodology for determining how much money each school will get, or how they will receive the money, until after the consultation has closed.

It has also not set out in detail from where in the DfE's budget the £508 million will come – although it told Tes it was not cutting any existing programmes to fund it – or why it took the highly unusual step of departing from the STRB’s recommendations. Although Mr Hinds blamed a lack of money when questioned by Tes.

Teacher pay: Where is the money coming from?

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, told Tes: “The fact of the matter is that we have not been told by the Department for Education where the £510 million to fund the 2.5 per cent of the pay award that the government is funding is coming from. We have no idea what other education provision is being cut to pay this award.

“So how can we be consulted on the award when we don’t know?

“We have got to have our response in by 3 September. But, having no knowledge of where the money is going to come from, we question whether this a proper consultation.”

Valentine Mulholland, head of policy at the NAHT heads' union, raised concerns about the lack of information to base consultation responses on.

She said: “When Damian Hinds made the statement, he said there would be a full response, and we haven’t had that, so actually we have got a five-week consultation with very inadequate detail.”

Ms Mulholland said the DfE has failed to give information such as whether schools will have to submit applications for the grant, and whether the DfE will use workforce data from November 2017 to calculate the funding level.

“It is extraordinary not to consult on it,” she added.

The DfE told Tes it would consider the responses to the consultation before issuing a final School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document.

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