Damian Hinds has told the body that makes recommendations on teacher pay that a 2 per cent rise is what is “affordable nationally”.
The education secretary’s evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), published today, came after a coalition of education unions demanded a 5 per cent increase.
The STRB is currently taking evidence about what pay rise teachers should get in September 2019.
Mr Hinds' submission warns that the government may not provide any additional funding to cover this year’s pay award.
Last year, the STRB recommended a 3.5 per cent pay rise for all teachers.
The DfE accepted this for teachers on the main pay scale, but announced smaller rises of 2 per cent for those on the upper ranges, and 1.5 per cent for leaders.
The DfE's Teacher Pay Grant did not fund the first 1 per cent of the pay rise, and last week Tes revealed that many schools were denying teachers an increase in their salary.
Today’s evidence from the DfE says: “On affordability, the evidence sets out the importance of ensuring that the pay award does not place undue pressure on school budgets, with a 2 per cent increase in per teacher pay being affordable nationally, in the context of the cost pressures faced by schools and headroom available for increases in teachers’ pay.
“The evidence makes clear that uplifts to the statutory salary and allowance ranges also need to be considered in relation to other areas where schools may wish to invest (such as school improvement, teacher continuing professional development, pastoral support and teaching resources).”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Last summer saw the biggest teacher pay rise in almost 10 years, worth between £800 and £1,366 for classroom teachers and supported by a £508 million government grant. Building on this, the education secretary has written to the independent School Teachers’ Review Body to ask its panel to provide its recommendations on teacher pay for the coming year.
“This sets out that a pay increase for teachers of 2 per cent, in line with forecast inflation, will be affordable within schools’ budgets and will be supported by the government’s proposals to fund increases in teachers’ pension employer contributions from September 2019.
“The core schools budget will be 2.5 per cent higher next year; teacher salaries account for around half of schools’ spending.
“While there is more money going into our schools than ever before, with an additional £1.3 billion into core schools funding by 2019-20, we recognise the budgeting challenges schools face - that’s why an additional £400 million capital funding for schools was announced at the budget and an additional £350 million has been earmarked for High Needs costs across this year and next.”