Freeze on pay for two years

Jon Slater

Review body set to ask for inflation-only salary deal. Jon Slater reports

Teachers face what is effectively a pay freeze for the next two years as salary increases are limited to the rate of inflation, The TES can reveal.

An annual increase of about 2.7 per cent is expected to be recommended by a School Teachers' Review Body in its report, due to be published next week.

The pay award is equivalent to approximately pound;780 next year for a teacher at the top of the main scale. The increase for newly-qualified teachers would be about pound;550.

The review body delivered its report to ministers last Friday. The two-year deal is believed to recommend an increase above the 2 per cent suggested by ministers.

Heads and deputies are set for bigger rises amid claims they have not benefited from efforts to reduce workload, and concerns that too few teachers are applying for leadership posts.

The report will set pay rates for the new post of "excellent teacher", created to replace the top two points of the upper pay spine in a deal between the Westminster government and the unions signed up for workforce reform.

It will also deliver the review body's latest verdict on local pay, and decide whether maths and science advanced skills teachers should be paid more than colleagues in other subjects.

Inflation, as measured by the Retail Price Index, is 2.7 per cent per annum. The Consumer Prices Index, the Government's preferred measure, stands at 2.5 per cent. The increase in teachers' pay for 2007 may be re-examined if inflation increases substantially during the intervening period.

Unions hope the review body will respond to the Government's calls for greater links between professional development and pay by calling for better training.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said:

"It is important that teachers' pay keeps pace with other graduate professions."

A survey by NatWest bank shows graduate starting salaries increased by 3.6 per cent last year. The two-year deal, combined with new three-year budgets in England, is intended to give schools greater stability when it comes into force next year.

Teachers' pay and conditions are not devolved to the National Assembly. As TES Cymru went to press, Assembly government finance minister Sue Essex was due to launch a consultation paper on moving towards three-year settlements for local authorities in Wales, which in turn could allow a similar deal for schools.

News of the teacher pay increases comes as Tony Blair moved to reassure teachers in England that last week's white paper will not give schools greater freedom over pay and conditions.

The Prime Minister said: "Self-governing and trust schools will, of course, be the employers of their staff. But they will also have to respect existing contracts and work within the national system for pay and conditions."

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The small gap between the pay of heads, deputies and teachers is a key factor in why people are not interested in leadership posts. Why take on responsibilities for peanuts?"

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