A much lower pay rise for experienced teachers compared with new starters feels like a “kick in the teeth,” a teaching union said today.
The comments were made as it was revealed that chancellor Rishi Sunak's 3.1 per cent teacher pay rise for September will result in a 5.5 per cent increase in the starting salary for the profession but just 2.75 per cent for the bulk of experienced teachers.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We do not think it is fair or reasonable that the pay award is much lower for experienced teachers and leaders after years of pay austerity which has seen the real value of salaries deteriorate. This won’t help to keep long-serving teachers in the profession and feels like a kick in the teeth."
Early career boost: New teachers’ starting salaries to increase by 5.5%
Mr Barton also fears that the government’s extra investment in school funding won’t be enough to enable all schools to afford the cost of the pay award.
Many schools 'won't be able to afford teacher pay rise'
“The government believes that schools will be able to afford the cost of the pay award from the extra investment it is putting into education over the course of three years," he said.
"But, in reality, the amount that schools receive in this settlement varies widely according to a number of factors, and we are concerned that many schools will not be able to afford this cost.
“Even in the best case, it means that most of the extra money provided in the settlement will go on the pay award with very little left to reverse the impact of real-terms cuts in government funding in recent years.
“We recognise that the government has the best of intentions, but the problem is that it is not investing enough money to do the right thing by all teachers, or even to ensure that schools are able to afford to pay the award within the limited scope it is proposing.”
The NEU teaching union also has concerns about whether there will be enough funding to make the pay deal a reality
"Without full funding by the government, for many teachers the pay increases announced in previous years have existed only in theory," said Mary Bousted, joint general secretary.
"The dismantling of the national pay structure, imposition of PRP [performance-related pay] and real-terms funding cuts have resulted in many teachers not getting the cost-of-living increases announced in previous years. NEU called for a fully-funded 7 per cent increase in September and we reiterate this call."
She added: "Raising starting salaries by 5.5 per cent should make the profession more attractive to graduates.
"But the prospect of salaries tapering off as they progress through the profession means that progress made in recruiting teachers will not be sustained in retaining them.
"More experienced teachers and leaders must see their immense hard work and efforts rewarded fairly, and this pay award does not do that."
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We are introducing the biggest pay rise the profession has seen since 2005, with above-inflation rises to the pay ranges for every single teacher in the country, ahead of introducing a £30,000 starting salary by 2022.
“Inspirational teachers change millions of lives by giving our children the drive and desire to learn, and reforms to teacher training, early career support and teachers’ pay are key to the government’s plans to improve school standards.”