English schools could lose new teachers to Wales because of a more favourable pay deal there, unions are warning.
The Welsh government yesterday announced plans to award NQTs (newly qualified teachers) a 5 per cent pay rise from September – at the same time as it was revealed that their counterparts in England would receive 2.75 per cent.
And this could have an impact on the ability of schools in England, particularly those near the Welsh border, to recruit new teachers.
The Welsh government has taken over setting teachers' pay after the powers were devolved from the British government last summer.
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Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The fact that we now have devolved pay [in Wales] is something that the Department for Education will have to factor into its thinking in future years. It clearly has not done so on this occasion.
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“The higher pay award for NQTs in Wales may well have an impact on recruitment in English schools over the border."
Wales' minister for education, Kirsty Williams, said the 5 per cent would “help us continue to attract high-quality teachers to the profession”.
But acting general secretary of the NASUWT Chris Keates said it would “not address the teachers’ pay gap, which is causing the increased loss of teachers in the first five years of teaching”.
However, Ms Keates said the 5 per cent pay rise may make "a slight marginal difference to recruitment" in Wales, and that it could have an effect on teacher recruitment at the Welsh/English border.
She added: “The issue for new teachers, however, is not just the starting salary in year one; it’s the fact that overall the salaries of teachers are not comparable with other graduate professions.”
Mr Barton said the Welsh government had not said how the pay award would be funded in Wales, adding: “If this additional cost ends up falling on schools it would be very difficult because they are extremely poorly funded and cannot absorb this extra cost.”
Education secretary Damian Hinds said that a 2.75 per cent pay rise for teachers "accepting the STRB’s recommendations in full, means that teachers and heads can receive a pay rise above current rates of inflation and have more money in their pockets".