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Exclusive: Schools denying teachers their national pay rise

'Chaos', says union, as survey finds 12% of teachers going without salary increase, despite £187m DfE grant to help fund it

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'Chaos', says union, as survey finds 12% of teachers going without salary increase, despite £187m DfE grant to help fund it

Many schools are denying teachers this year’s cost of living pay rise – despite being given a £187 million government grant to help fund it, Tes can reveal.

Research carried out by the NASUWT teaching union has found that some schools are telling teachers they would lose their jobs if schools had to pay them the salary increase, ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 per cent.

A survey by the union of 6,900 teachers found 12 per cent had been told they were not getting any pay rise at all, with a further 45 per cent yet to be informed of a decision.

NASUWT general secretary, Chris Keates, likened the situation to the “wild west” and said it was “complete chaos".

The union also found cases where:

  • Teachers had been told they'd get a partial pay rise but not the full amount.
  • Where teachers were being given the full pay award, it was being backdated only until January and not September.
  • More than one in 10 NQTs were not getting any pay award at all because they had signed contracts in July based on last year’s rates

A £508 million pay grant was made available at end of last year by the government, including £187 million for this year, to part-fund (beyond the first 1 per cent) a pay award of 3.5 per cent for teachers on the main pay scale, 2 per cent for those on the upper pay scale and 1.5 per cent on the leadership scale.

But Ms Keates said local authorities were giving schools options as to how much of the pay award they could pay. But she said: “In academies, it will tend to be a straight-forward ‘we’re not paying you.’”

She criticised the government for not ringfencing the grant specifically for use on teachers’ pay and said some schools were "using their discretion" to spend it on other things.

“Teachers have been conditioned in some schools to not stand up for their pay because they are constantly being told ‘if we pay you then we’re not going to be able to have supply teachers in and you’re going to have to cover’ or ‘you’re gonna lose your job’," she said.

“Our strategy at the moment is getting out into schools and trying to turn around this view that some have that their school can’t afford it.”

Ms Keates said the NASUWT staff had gathered DfE information on the budgets of every school in the country and said that more than 80 per cent were running a budget surplus, which collectively amounted to almost £4 billion. 

She added: “When we go into schools and say to teachers ‘this is what your school has got in reserve they’re absolutely shocked and become really angry.”

The survey by the union highlights teacher 'anger' and shows one-fifth of teachers are considering leaving the profession because of pay



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