Six education unions have come together to call on the pay review body to recommend a “significant pay increase” for teachers to address a “crisis” in recruitment and retention.
The Association of School and College Leaders, ATL, NAHT, NUT, Voice and UCAC in Wales have made a single submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body, in addition to the evidence each union has already submitted to the organisation.
In the joint statement the unions warn that “the teaching profession is in crisis”.
“We are not recruiting enough teachers and too many are leaving the profession, worn down by relentless overwork, stress and pressure,” the submission says.
Twenty three per cent of secondary schools reported a vacancy or temporary filled post in 2015, up from 7 per cent in 2011. In primary schools the figure was 6.9 per cent - up by 2.7 per cent on 2011.
According to the National Governors' Association there has been an increase of 5.2 per cent since 2015 in schools struggling to recruit to senior posts, with 41.5 per cent of governors reporting this as a problem.
The unions argue that this is linked to declining pay, which they claim has made the profession less attractive to potential entrants.
They say that education secretary Justine Greening “failed to recognise” these issues in her submission to the STRB, which said any rise in teacher pay should continue to be capped at 1 per cent overall.
Teachers and school leaders have seen a 11.5 per cent real terms cut to their pay between 2010 and 2016 as a result of six years of pay freezes and pay caps, according to the unions' evidence.
They argue that a “significant pay increase” is now “imperative” to meet existing demand for teachers and to respond to the 750,000 growth in pupil numbers forecast by 2025.
The six unions are “totally opposed” to pay awards being based solely on performance, arguing that all teachers should get a cost of living increase so wages can keep pace with inflation.
Increases to pay in September 2017 must also be “fully funded” to save schools from having to pay for salary rises out of their own stretched budgets, the unions say.
The STRB will issue its recommendations later this year, although the government is not obliged to accept them.