Teacher pay deal a 'challenge' for schools, STRB admits

Day one job for new PM is to fully fund pay rise, says union, as pay body highlights 'difficult financial circumstances' of some schools

teacher pay

Despite recommending that teachers receive a 2.75 per cent salary rise from September, the teacher pay review body has admitted it will be “challenging” for some schools to fund it.

The recommendations of the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) were today accepted by the Department for Education, although the DfE said schools would have to fund first the 2 per cent themselves.

In its report today, the STRB identified the reasons behind its recommendations, including that there had been ‘decades of decline’ in teacher pay compared to other professions, and that this was affecting the recruitment and retention of teachers.


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However, it admitted that “there remains considerable variation in the state of schools’ finances across the system" and stated: "This is likely to mean that some schools in difficult financial circumstances will find it challenging to implement any uplift to pay and allowance ranges in September 2019."

The NASUWT teaching union found 12 per cent of teachers went without a pay rise last year – despite a pay grant of £187m from the DfE grant to help fund it – and that teachers were being told by employers that there may be job cuts if their schools had to fund pay awards. 

The NEU teaching union also revealed that one in five teachers had been denied last year’s national pay rise, in a survey of 34,000 teachers.

NEU joint-general secretary Kevin Courtney said the union would support its members in taking action if they didn’t receive the pay award, and called on the government to fully fund it to help schools which were already under financial pressure.

He said: “This is a day one challenge for the new prime minister. On Wednesday, when he comes back from seeing the Queen, he should straight away announce more money for schools and he should start with fully funding the pay rise.”

Chris Keates, acting general secretary of the NASUWT, said that the pay grant (of £105 million) to cover the 0.75 per cent of the award had not been ring-fenced and therefore there no was no guarantee schools would use it for teachers’ pay.

She said: “Last year there was widespread abuse of this grant by too many schools, using it to fund anything but teachers’ pay.

She also said there were currently £4.1 billion in reserves across the school system and that the NASUWT would challenge any employer seeking to deprive any teacher of the recommended pay award.

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