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Exclusive: Independence of teachers' pay review body ‘compromised’, union claims

Teachers' pay: NAHT heads' union accuses the government of 'threatening the credibility of the independent pay review body concept'

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Teachers' pay: NAHT heads' union accuses the government of 'threatening the credibility of the independent pay review body concept'

The teachers’ pay review body is being “compromised” by “impossible constraints” placed on it by the government, the NAHT heads’ union has claimed.

The union said the government’s decision to instruct the body to make its recommendation while sticking to the 1 per cent public sector pay cap was threatening the “credibility” of the entire pay review process.

Earlier this month the education secretary, Justine Greening, announced she was intending to accept the recommendation by the school teachers’ review body that teachers should receive a 1 per cent pay rise in September. A small number of teachers at the bottom of the main pay scale are guaranteed a larger rise of 2 per cent.

However, in the NAHT’s response to the government’s consultation on the STRB report – exclusively shared with Tes – the union claims the independence of the body is being undermined.

Ms Greening told the STRB in December that it needed to make its recommendation for 2017-18 within the 1 per cent public sector cap.

In the letter sent by the NAHT to the Department for Education, Valentine Mulholland, the union’s head of policy, says: “The independent pay review process is being compromised by impossible constraints.

“The STRB are no longer able to independently advise on what pay levels should be for teachers and school leaders."

Ms Mulholland says the body had gone “as far, and further, than the remit given to them allowed” in recommending the 2 per cent pay increase for early-career teachers.

“But, mindful of the funding crisis in schools, [they] have not dared to extend this to other teachers and school leaders,” she adds.

'Political ideology'

The NAHT’s response says that while the STRB’s “discomfort” with the 1 per cent award was “palpable” in its report, the government’s commitment to the cap “had to be prioritised” over the need to attract and retain teachers by offering better salaries.

The union accuses the government of “putting political ideology before clear evidence” and of “threatening the credibility of the independent pay review body concept”.

It urges the government to provide at least a further £2 billion a year to schools to ensure pay increases are fully funded, and to undertake a “full review of pay in our sector, unconstrained by the artificial public sector pay cap”.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “The consultation on the government’s proposed response to the independent school teachers’ review body report will close at midnight on 28 July.

“We will be analysing all contributions and responding in due course.”

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