Teacher pay across all further education provider types has continued to fall, according to new research from the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).
The ETF’s report, Further education workforce data for England, analysed Staff Individualised Record returns for 2018-2019 and found that pay for teaching staff had decreased by 0.6 per cent from £32,500 to £32,300.
The report also found that the gender pay gap for teaching staff had risen from 2.5 per cent in 2017-18 to 4.2 per cent in 2018-19.
Just under 92,000 FE staff from 186 FE providers – 93 of them general further education colleges – took part in the survey.
Background: College teacher pay continues to drop
The survey found that pay across all staff in FE has risen by 7.9 per cent from £26,500 to £28,600 in the past six years, but that the gender pay gap remains in place for all staff, increasing from 9.3 per cent in 2017-18 to 10.1 per cent in 2018-19.
The report suggests that this gap may be driven to a significant extent by the different subjects taught by men and women and the different job roles they hold.
In colleges specifically, the report found that the gender pay gap has increased in the past six years, from 7.3 per cent in 2013-14 to 10.2 per cent in 2018-19.
The report found that, since 2013-14, median pay for male staff increased by 10.4 per cent, while for female staff median pay increased by 6.9 per cent.
The same report last year revealed that teachers were on average paid £31,600 in 2017-18.
The University and College Union's general secretary Jo Grady said: "The falling rate of pay for teachers in further education is deeply concerning. It will only serve to widen the £7,000 pay gap that already exists with schools and make it harder for colleges to recruit and retain the staff they need.
"The shocking rise in the gender pay gap also highlights the need for a sector-wide commitment to investigate and address the root causes of pay inequality. If we want a strong and resilient further education sector for the future, it is crucial that the government and employers take urgent action to address these worrying gaps and ensure that careers in colleges remain attractive."
A squeeze on pay
Julian Gravatt, deputy chief executive at the Association of Colleges, said that the AoC is "hugely concerned" about colleges’ ability to pay FE teachers at a rate that compares with their colleagues in the school sector – particularly now when college staff have risen to the challenges of this crisis in supporting their students and communities.
He said: "Evidence collected by AoC from colleges shows that colleges have made pay awards where they can but there has been a squeeze on pay overall because, between 2015 and 2020, DfE took no account of inflation at all in setting funding rates at a time when extra costs (for example, higher pension contributions) were loaded onto budgets.
"Colleges have also prioritised lower-paid staff, with many more colleges now paying the national living wage – this may have resulted in average pay rising at a faster rate than that of teachers.
"On the question about the gender pay gap, we agree that this is a concern, even if the differences may be driven by the different subjects that people teach."
The data also found that in the year 2018-19, senior managers at colleges earned more than their counterparts in other institutions. College senior managers reported an median annual pay of £58,000, compared with £56,700 across all provider types and £40,000 at independent providers.
This trend is true for teaching staff, too: median pay for teaching staff is higher in colleges at £32,500 than in independent providers at £26,000 or local authorities at £27,900.
Regionally, the south has had the largest increase in median pay across all FE occupations at 10.1 per cent, whereas Greater London has seen median pay rise by just 2.4 per cent over the same period.
However, for teaching staff specifically, the picture is different. Teachers in Greater London have a median pay of £34,900, compared with £32,000 in the North, £33,00 in the Midlands and East and £31,800 in the South.
The report finds that since 2012-2013, median teacher pay has risen in Greater London, the Midlands and East and the South, but fallen in the North.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Around the country, every day teachers are working hard across the further education sector to pass on their expertise, inspire their students and make sure they have the skills they need to succeed. It’s has been great that so many FE teachers have been able to successfully move to online and remote learning during this unprecedented time.
“We know the value they bring. That’s why we have invested an additional £24 million to help the FE sector to recruit, develop and retain the best teachers who will help to unlock their students’ full potential.”