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Cuts blamed for putting paid to rise for sixth-form college staff

Teachers and support staff in sixth-form colleges will receive no pay rise this year due to "unprecedented" funding cuts.

The move has been heavily criticised by teaching and support-staff unions, which have expressed concerns that colleges will not be able to recruit and retain staff.

School teachers are in the first year of a two-year pay freeze. Currently, a teacher in a sixth-form college on the lowest rung of the pay scale receives around #163;300 a year less than their peers in schools.

Sixth Form Colleges' Forum (SFCF) chief executive David Igoe said: "Due to the unprecedented scale of the planned cuts in funding, no pay offer can be made to either teachers or support staff.

"However the SFCF remains committed to fair funding and fair pay and will strive to influence government and the funding agencies to give sixth-form colleges a fair settlement which reflects their exceptional quality and performance."

A joint statement from the ATL, NASUWT and NUT classroom unions expressed "substantial concerns at the loss of pay comparability with schools, the implications of colleges' ability to recruit and retain teachers, and the severe impact of high inflation and low pay rises on sixth-form college teachers".

Jon Richards, senior national officer for education at public-sector union Unison, which represents support staff, described the freeze as a real-terms pay cut for staff. He said the union would consult staff over what action to take.

Mr Richards said: "Thousands of our members at sixth-form colleges will struggle to make ends meet if they are refused any kind of pay offer. This is a pay cut in the current climate of rising inflation.

"FE colleges, which have suffered a worse funding settlement than sixth-form colleges, have still made a pay offer this year.

"The Government's public-sector pay policy also recommends a #163;250 increase for staff earning less than #163;21,000."

If the offer from the Association of Colleges is accepted, FE college staff earning less than #163;21,000 a year will receive a #163;200 pay rise. Those earning more than #163;21,000 stand to get an extra #163;125.

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