Exclusive: Teacher pay deal will trigger redundancies

‘Flurry’ of heads tell union lack of government funding for teacher pay deal will mean job losses or reduced hours

Martin George

Heads have said they will have to make redundancies because of the government's failure to fully fund the teacher pay rise.

'Despairing' headteachers will have to make staff redundant in September because the government failed to fully fund the teacher pay rise, a union has warned.

Yesterday, the Department for Education announced a 2.75 per cent pay rise for teachers in 2019-20, but said schools would have to fund the first 2 per cent of it from their existing budgets.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which advises the DfE on teacher pay, had recommended the 2.75 per cent increase.

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However, in its report, the STRB warned that “some schools in difficult financial circumstances will find it challenging to implement any uplift to pay and allowance ranges in September 2019”.

Now, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has said school leaders are already telling him they will have to make people redundant as a result.

He told Tes: “I have had a flurry of emails this morning from people who are genuinely in some cases in despair.

“We have been saying you have got to have a summer holiday and try and switch off from this.

“[They are] saying ‘This can only result in me making some staff redundant or at least shortening the hours of some support staff’.

“Once again, what we will see is [that] teaching assistants, in particular, other members of support staff, are likely to bear the brunt of this and that will be starting in September.”

Mr Barton said there was “intense frustration” about the pay award announcement being delayed until after most schools had broken up for the summer, and after schools had held their last governing body meetings.

He added: “That just increases the personal sense of pressure on leaders who feel they are now carrying responsibility, with their finance directors, of trying to navigate a way through without the support around them of the mechanisms of governing boards and so on.

“There is intense frustration about that.”

The news comes amid warnings that schools in England could lose teachers to Wales following a more favourable pay award in the principality.

The Welsh government yesterday announced plans for a 5 per cent pay rise for newly qualified teachers (NQTs).

Mr Barton said: “The higher pay award for NQTs in Wales may well have an impact on recruitment in English schools over the border."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The announcement of a 2.75 per cent pay rise for teachers, accepting the STRB’s recommendations in full, means that teachers and heads can receive a pay rise above current rates of inflation and have more money in their pockets.

“If we want the best people working in our classrooms then it’s right that we ensure their salaries recognise the vital nature of their work and the potentially life changing impact they can have on the lives of our children.

“We are investing an additional £105m into the existing Teachers’ Pay Grant this financial year which covers the 0.75 per cent over the level we have assessed is affordable for schools.

"The funding will provide additional support to all maintained schools and academies, over and above the core funding that they receive through the national funding formula.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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