One in five teachers denied national pay rise

Some teachers are suffering unfair treatment in being denied last year's agreed pay rise, research by the NEU shows

The NEU survey revealed teachers' concerns about pay.

Almost one in five teachers have not received this year's national cost-of-living pay increase, despite the Department for Education funding it, according to a major new survey.

The news came as the DfE today suggested that teachers' pay rise next year should be limited to 2 cent because that is what is "affordable nationally".

The department also warned that schools should not assume that the government will be able to provide extra funding to help with a pay increase, as it has done this year.

But the poll by the NEU teaching union is further evidence that even with the £508 million DfE teachers' pay grant, schools have not been able to afford the pay rises the government suggested teachers should get this year.

The survey attracted almost 34,000 responses from teachers, of whom 18 per cent said that they were not receiving an "annual cost-of-living pay increase" for 2018. It also showed that seven in 10 teachers have considered quitting because of low pay or concerns about unfairness in pay progression.

Last year, the DfE announced pay rises of up to 3.5 per cent for teachers for September 2018, and unveiled the teachers' pay grant to fund all but the first 1 per cent.

However, last week Tes revealed that an NASUWT teaching union survey of 6,900 respondents found that 12 per cent of teachers had been told they were not getting any pay rise at all.

And heads' leaders said that teachers would not get the national pay rise without extra government funding.

Teachers 'can't expect cost-of-living pay increase'

An NEU analysis of its findings says: “This year’s survey demonstrates once more that recent changes to the school teachers’ pay system mean that teachers cannot now rely on an annual cost-of-living pay increase, even where funding is provided by government for the purpose."

Today's DfE submission to the Schools Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations about teacher pay, warns that the government may not provide any additional funding to cover the pay award for the next academic year.

It states: "Although the government provided funding, through a teachers’ pay grant, to support the implementation of the 2018 award, it should not be assumed this will be the case again for the 2019 award.”

If teachers receive the 2 per cent pay award which the DfE has said is “affordable nationally”, but extra money is not provided, this could cause serious financial implications for schools.

Today's NEU survey findings also include:

  • Among those who had been eligible to be considered for pay progression (46 per cent of the total response), 17 per cent still did not know the outcome of their pay progression decision.
  • Teachers who had been pregnant or on maternity leave were almost twice as likely to have been denied progression (19 per cent), with half of these being explicitly told this was why they had been denied progression.
  • Teachers working in academies, teachers working part-time, disabled teachers and teachers from a black or Asian background were more likely to be denied progression than teachers generally.
  • Almost one in five of those denied progression said they had been explicitly told that the decision was due to funding constraints rather than performance.  
  • 90 per cent of those denied progression up their pay scale said that the decision was unfair, and 92 per cent had been given no indication during the year that they were not meeting the standards for progression, contrary to government guidance.
  • 79 per cent were not going to appeal, with many saying that it would be a waste of time and have undesirable consequences.

Mary Bousted, the NEU's joint general secretary, said: “In the interests of teachers, parents and children, the government must now take heed and act.

"Performance-related pay is not suitable for schools – it promotes unfairness and inequality and makes pay determination costlier and more bureaucratic."

Earlier this week, unions said teachers should have a fully funded 5 per cent pay increase from September 2019 in order to “address the fundamental problems of teacher supply".

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