Schools have remained centre-stage in the Tory leadership contest today, with a pledge to see teacher pay rise at least in line with inflation.
Esther McVey, a prominent candidate in the race to be the next prime minister, has set out plans for a “double lock” on public sector pay. It would see teachers’ salaries rise in line with inflation or the recommendation of the government’s teacher pay advisory body, the STRB – whichever is higher
Meanwhile, her rival in the contest, home secretary Sajid Javid, has today pledged a multi-billion funding boost for education.
Quick read: School cuts estimate doubles to 8 per cent
Ms McVey, a former work and pensions secretary, had already promised an extra £2 billion for schools and £2 billion for special educational needs and disability and further education as part of her leadership campaign.
Today she told the Sunday Times: “Public sector workers did much of the heavy lifting to get us through clearing up the economic mess left by Labour.
“We must acknowledge the debt that we owe these workers – nurses, firemen, midwives, teachers and the police – who have helped get us back on a sound economic footing while continuing to deliver the services upon which we all rely.”
Last year, the STRB recommended a 3.5 per cent pay rise for all teachers, but the DfE only agreed to that for main scale teachers and instead settled on a 2 per cent rise for teachers on the upper ranges, and below-inflation 1.5 per cent rise for school leaders.
Last week, Conservative leadership favourite Boris Johnson wrote about teacher pay, saying it was “obvious that they should be decently paid”.
However, he did not explicitly say that they should get a pay rise.
Mr Javid today said he would slow down the pace of national debt reduction to provide a multi-billion funding boost for education.
"I want to see a multi-year, multi-billion pound boost in investment and spending in schools, and really change the life chances of so many young people," he told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
"What I would do is slow down the rate of debt reduction, government debt reduction as a proportion of GDP."
He said that could free between £15 billion and £25 billion a year, some of which would go to the education system.
Another leading candidate, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, signalled that schools will figure in his leadership bid.
The Sunday Times says he would announce plans to “deploy mental health support teams in every school”.