Teachers will not get their national cost of living pay award without new government money, a headteachers’ leader has warned.
Tes this week revealed union research suggesting more than one in 10 teachers have been told by schools that they will not be getting any pay rise at all this year.
The findings are surprising as the government announced a national teacher pay rise of between 1.5 and 3.5 per cent and schools are being given a government grant of £187 million this year to help pay for it.
Now Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, has told Tes: “Only new money from the Treasury can solve the school funding crisis and allow school staff the pay increase they so thoroughly deserve.”
He said heads and school governing bodies should not be blamed for having to make “heartbreaking decisions” and that it was “the government that is failing teachers, not school leaders.”
However, the Department for Education says it “does not believe that schools are withholding these awards”.
That’s despite the survey – carried out by the NASUWT teaching union – of 6,900 teachers, which that 12 per cent said they were not receiving any salary increase. A further 45 per cent had yet to be informed as to whether they would receive anything, the survey found.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “It’s scandalous! If this was happening in the health service the media would be going absolutely mad, particularly if it was nurses. But when its teachers nobody raises an eyebrow!”
Headteacher Jules White, founder of the Worth Less? campaign, which organised a march of 2,000 head teachers on Downing Street in a protest over funding, said the fact that the pay award was only part-funded (above the first 1 per cent) had “exacerbated pressure on budgets in schools and academies” which were in “a tremendously fragile financial position.”
He said: “At a time when teachers are being asked to do so much more and the fact that we have a recruitment and retention crisis, it’s an obvious concern to hear of any colleague not receiving the pay recommendations made by the STRB [School Teachers Review Body].
“Heads should not be confronted with having to make impossible choices relating to levels of staffing, pay and wider provision.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “ASCL Council was very clear in its guidance that schools, academies and trusts should aim to pay the pay recommendations in full.
"Our feedback from members is that this is precisely what they have tried to do. That said, we know that the financial situation for too many of them is dire. This was a pay award which the government refused to fund in full. That will have left some heads and principals in the iniquitous position of not being able to pay staff what was recommended.”
A DfE spokesperson said: “Last summer we announced the biggest pay award in almost 10 years – a 3.5 per cent increase to the main pay range for classroom teachers backed by a £508 million government grant.
“We do not believe that schools are withholding these awards and there is no evidence that schools are accumulating cash at the expense of educational delivery.”