Justine Greening pushes for teacher pay rises to remain capped at 1 per cent

The education secretary says there is a 'strong case' for continued pay restraint

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Teachers’ pay rises should be capped at an average of 1 per cent next year, the education secretary has said.

Justine Greening believes there remains a “strong case” for continued pay restraint – despite growing concerns over recruitment and retention problems in the profession.

The education secretary's comments follow warnings from the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) that pay rises “significantly higher than 1 per cent” will be required during the course of this parliament if the current pressures on recruitment and retention continue.

In a letter to the STRB, which advises on teachers' pay, Ms Greening has today called for pay rises to remain within 1 per cent on average for 2017/18, similar to this year. 

The minister wrote: “The recent pay reforms mean that schools are now best placed to decide how pay awards can be targeted to meet their specific local recruitment and retention needs.”

Ms Greening’s letter to Dr Patricia Rice, chair of the STRB, calls on the body to consider:

  • the need to ensure that any proposed payrises are affordable at both a national level and within the existing budgets of individual schools;
  • evidence of the national state of teacher and school leader supply, including rates of recruitment and retention, vacancy rates and the quality of candidates entering teaching;
  • the government’s commitment to increasing autonomy for all heads and governing bodies to develop pay arrangements that are suited to the individual circumstances of their schools.

She added: “I intend to submit for your consideration written evidence that there remains a strong case for continued pay restraint in the public sector."

In July this year, the STRB recommended a 1 per cent pay award – but said: “We are concerned about this further deterioration in the recruitment and retention position when set against strong demand in the graduate labour market and continuing concerns in the profession about workload.”

The STRB is due to make official recommendations on the 2017/18 pay award by early April next year.

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