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New teachers' hourly rate 'just 10% above minimum wage'

Teachers are buying clothes in charity shops and 'many' are living at home with their parents, says NEU ahead of annual conference

teacher pay

Some newly qualified teachers are working a 54-hour week – putting them on an hourly rate that is only 10 per cent more than the minimum wage, the NEU teaching union said this morning.

The union will debate a motion on fair pay for teachers at its annual conference in Liverpool next week.

At a pre-conference briefing in central London this morning, joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said some teachers in London couldn't afford new clothes and were turning to charity shops.

"Some of them are not in a place where they can afford to buy new clothes,” he said, adding that "many of them" were living at home with their parents. 

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Mr Courtney said: “There are newly qualified teachers who tell us they’ve worked out how many hours they’ve worked in a week, and they’ve divided that by the amount of pay they get per week, and they’ve come up with numbers which show they are slightly – only around 10 per cent – above the minimum wage with their hourly rates. Some are working more than 54 hours a week.”

Mary Bousted, the union's other joint general secretary, said that last year was the first time the government had ignored the recommendation on pay by the STRB (School Teachers’ Review Body).

She said pay was becoming more of "a salient issue" to members alongside workload.

The NEU teaching union annual conference will also address issues including schools funding, privatisation of education, pay and conditions of supply teachers, workload, T levels, recruitment and retention, teacher mental health and climate change.

The national minimum wage is currently £7.70 per hour for 21- to 24 year-olds, and £8.21 per hour for over-25s.

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