Teachers’ pay rises should be capped at an average of 1 per cent next year, the government has recommended.
The call for a further year of minimal salary increases come in a letter from education secretary Nicky Morgan to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), which advises on teachers' pay.
Unions are warning that the plan for 2016 will exacerbate the teacher recruitment crisis. But Ms Morgan’s letter to Dr Patricia Rice, the STRB chair, states that there remains "a strong case for continued pay restraint in the public sector". And it asks the STRB to consider whether teachers could "move down from the upper pay range to the main pay range" to allow schools more flexibility.
Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: “The government has completely ignored the mounting evidence of teacher shortages in its remit to the STRB.
"We are already failing to meet our targets for recruiting new teachers. Retention is also in crisis, with more than half of teachers thinking of leaving teaching. The government’s response is to threaten more pay restraint, pegging pay increases at a maximum of 1 per cent and depriving many teachers of any pay rise at all.
“Unless the government changes course on teachers’ pay, it is going to make the teacher recruitment and retention crisis even worse.”
Ms Morgan’s letter also asks the STRB to look at:
• What adjustments should be made to the salary and allowance ranges to promote recruitment and retention within an average pay award of 1 per cent.
• What adjustments, if any, should be made to the pay and conditions framework to provide additional flexibilities for schools to recognise performance.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, said: “The government cannot continue to hold teachers' pay behind private sector pay and expect teaching to remain an attractive profession.”
Brian Lightman, the Association of School and College Leaders' general secretary, said: “The key issue remains the recruitment crisis in teaching. Teachers’ and school leaders have taken successive pay cuts for a number of years now and it is vitally important that steps are taken to redress this.”
The teaching unions have until the end of November to make their submissions to the STRB, who are due to make official recommendations on the pay award by the end of April next year.