Teacher pay: Unions urge review body to ignore DfE pressure

New joint letter calls for STRB to disregard evidence from Damian Hinds that 2% rise is all that is affordable

Teacher pay: Unions urge review body to ignore DfE pressure

The government's teacher pay review body should ignore pressure from the Department for Education to cap this year's increase at 2 per cent, unions have said.

The NEU teaching union, the NAHT headteachers' union, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and Voice today submitted a supplementary statement to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB).

The move follows last month's evidence from education secretary Damian Hinds that a 2 per cent award was all that was affordable.

The unions reiterated their case that a fully-funded pay award of 5 per cent from September 2019 was needed in order to address the current teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

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Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “The teacher supply pipeline is leaking at both ends, with too few new applicants and too many experienced professionals leaving prematurely.

"A fully funded 5 per cent increase for all teachers and leaders is vital if we are to plug the leaky pipeline of teacher recruitment and retention in England “

'Another real-terms teacher pay cut'

The STRB is currently taking evidence about what pay rise teachers should get in September 2019.

Last year unions also submitted evidence calling for a 5 per cent increase, but the STRB recommended 3.5 per cent.

However, the government ignored the advice and awarded 3.5 per cent only to teachers on the main pay scale, with those on the upper pay scale and senior leaders receiving 2 and 1.5 per cent respectively.

Mr Hinds also said in his evidence to the STRB that the government may not provide any additional funding to cover this year’s pay award.

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said: “The suggestion that schools should foot the bill is completely unrealistic given the totally inadequate level of school funding.”

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “The evidence shows that teacher recruitment and retention is in a critical state. Instead of proposing another real-terms pay cut, the government must act urgently to increase pay for all teachers by 5 per cent as a starting point, fully funding this increase.”

Voice general secretary Deborah Lawson said: “The government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy will only succeed if its aspirations are accompanied and complemented by a fully-funded pay increase.

"To do otherwise is to risk failure when there is a teacher recruitment and retention and school funding crisis. We urge the STRB to consider the evidence presented and recommend a fully funded pay raise of 5 per cent.”

The STRB is expected to announce its recommendations in the summer.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Last summer saw the biggest teacher pay rise in almost 10 years, worth between £800 and £1,366 for classroom teachers and supported by a £508 million government grant. Building on this, the Education Secretary has written to the independent School Teachers’ Review Body to ask its panel to provide its recommendations on teacher pay for the coming year.

“This sets out that a pay increase for teachers of 2 per cent, in line with forecast inflation, will be affordable within schools’ budgets and will be supported by the government’s proposals to fund increases in teachers’ pension employer contributions from September 2019. The core schools budget will be 2.5 per cent higher next year; teacher salaries account for around half of schools’ spending."

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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