Headteachers face another real-terms cut in pay because the government does not have enough money, Damian Hinds has said.
Last week, the Department for Education announced a 3.5 per cent pay award for teachers on the main pay scale, breaching the public sector pay cap and giving them an above-inflation pay rise.
The School Teachers’ Review Body, which advises the government on teacher pay, recommended that teachers at all levels receive the same 3.5 per cent rise.
Instead, the DfE said that those on the upper pay scale would get 2 per cent, while school leaders would only receive 1.5 per cent.
Both awards are below inflation, meaning these teachers will see their pay cut in real terms.
This morning, when questioned by Tes about why school leaders faced a real-terms pay cut, the education secretary blamed tight government finances.
“The pay settlement that has come out is 3.5 per cent for the main pay range, and then 2 and 1.5," he said, after a speech about social mobility given to the Resolution Foundation thinktank in London.
“These are decisions that we make in order to try and fairly reflect what people are doing, and teachers and headteachers are doing a fantastic job.
'Difficult to retain' experienced headteachers
“Also, there is a fiscal consideration to make and we make these decisions across government. The pay cap has gone but we are still in a financially constrained position.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT heads' union, accused the government of “taking school leaders and teachers for granted for another year”, and warned that it has not understood “just the depth of resentment this has caused”.
Asked if the education secretary’s justification for not giving heads the recommended 3.5 per cent pay rise was valid, he said: “No, I don’t think you can have it both ways around.
“If you are going to rely on an independent review body to determine what pay is needed in the profession, you have to follow its recommendations.
“Successive governments have been happy to accept the recommendations in full at times of pay restraint, when the review bodies come back, and max that pay restraint.
“You can’t not fully accept its proposals or its recommendations when it comes back and says it needs an injection of cash into the profession to answer all those difficult questions we have got at the moment about recruitment and retention.
“This is going to do nothing to retain those longer-serving teachers and school leaders that we need to keep in the profession right now at a time of crisis.”