Schools could be forced to make job cuts to both teachers and teaching assistants because they are unable to afford next year's teacher pay rise, a union has warned.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has warned that an increase of 3 per cent in the total pay bill for teachers, and 2.5 per cent for senior leaders and headteachers (as set out in a Department for Education report published today), must be fully funded by the government.
But it says it is “extremely concerned" that the government expects this money to come from the extra £7.1 billion that it has promised will reverse the cuts to school budgets.
ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton said: “The precise implications will alter from school to school. But it is obvious that many schools will not have enough additional funding to cover the increased costs. It will necessitate further savings, which will mean reducing teachers, support staff or both.
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“Many schools are likely to have to make further cuts next [academic] year because the funding they have been allocated is not enough to cover the salary increases proposed by the government in its submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body."
School funding fears
ASCL is part of the School Cuts Coalition, which has pointed out that 16,500 schools will be "worse off" next year under government funding allocations.
The association says that about a quarter of schools will receive an inflation-only funding increase of 1.8 per cent, despite the government proposing an increase of 3 per cent in the total pay bill for teachers.
Jules White, coordinator of the WorthLess? campaign for more school funding, said the proposed extra funding over the next three years would “barely put us back to overall funding levels from a decade ago”.
He said: “This money was not – and I repeat was not – meant to fund and prop up future pay awards. Unless any new awards are fully funded, we will be back to where we started with real-terms cuts decimating our budgets. I can’t see how heads and schools will tolerate that again.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The pay award will be affordable for schools thanks to government plans to invest an extra £14 billion over the next three years – starting with an additional £2.6 billion in 2020-21 and rising to £7.1 billion more in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20 levels."