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PM rejects call for 3.5% pay rise for all teachers

May says there is more money and more pupils in good and outstanding schools

Theresa May

May says there is more money and more pupils in good and outstanding schools

Prime minister Theresa May today ignored calls for all teachers to get the 3.5 per cent pay rise recommended by the pay body earlier this year.

She was asked by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn whether she could “confirm that austerity is now over for all teachers who will receive the independently recommended 3.5 per cent pay rise?”

“He knows the announcement that has been made in relation to teachers’ pay award,” Ms May replied.

The government announced in July that only those teachers on the main pay scale would get a 3.5 per cent pay rise, with those on the upper ranges getting 2 per cent and leaders getting 1.5 per cent.

Ms May continued by apparently repeating two claims that this week led the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) to issue a "blistering" rebuke to the Department for Education.

“School funding this year is at a record high with the extra £1.3 billion we’ve put in this year and next, and per-pupil funding is being protected in real terms. I recognise the pressures that schools are under but I also recognise that we now see 1.9 million more children in 'good' and 'outstanding' schools compared with 2010, and part of that is because of the reforms that we’ve put forward in education, including free schools and academies – free schools and academies that Labour party would abolish.”

The UKSA said that the DfE had misrepresented statistics on four occasions, including by saying that "there is more money going into schools than ever before". The authority said the figures were presented in such a way as to misrepresent changes in school funding by not breaking down funding according to spending per pupil.

The authority also investigated DfE claims that there had been a substantial increase in the number of children in schools with “good” or “outstanding” Ofsted ratings, and concluded that they should be set context of increasing pupil numbers and changes to the inspection framework.

Jonathan Slater, permanent secretary at the DfE, has said that the department does “need to improve” its performance on the use of statistics.

Returning to teachers’ pay, Mr Corbyn said that “the reality is that over half of teachers are getting another real-terms pay cut next year”. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has estimated that about 60 per cent of teachers will receive pay increases below inflation.

The IFS has also said that school spending is likely to suffer real-terms cuts this year and next because of rising costs, despite DfE pledges to protect funding.

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