Teaching unions have expressed shock and sadness at proposals to award a pay rise to judges which is more than 20 times the percentage increase awarded to many teachers this year.
A government-commissioned report has recommended high court judges should receive a 32 per cent salary hike, and the government says it is considering the proposals.
The proposed rise is being justified by low morale and recruitment difficulties – problems that many teachers will be familiar with.
But it compares to a teacher pay rise, from last month, of 3.5 per cent for those on the main pay scale, and 1.5 per cent for school leaders and 2 per cent for teachers on the upper pay scale.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said such a pay rise for judges would be “extraordinary".
He said: “It would deepen the sense of injustice felt by the many teachers and leaders who will not even receive a pay increase which keeps pace with inflation this year. There has to be some consistency in the way that public service is valued, and while there will inevitably be different levels of salary, the annual pay award should not be wildly variable.”
A report by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) has recommended that judges receive a pay hike from £181,500 to £240,000 – which is an increase of almost £60,000 per year or more than £1,100-a-week.
That compares to pay rises for teachers, from September, of between £1,184 and £1,366, while salaries for new teachers have increased by between £802 and £1,003.
The reality of the teacher pay settlement, analysis from the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows, is that when inflation is taken into account about 60 per cent of teachers will receive a real terms pay cut.
Mary Bousted, joint-general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said it was "sad" that the government had ignored another of its review bodies, the School Teachers’ Review Body, which recommended a 3.5 per cent rise for all teachers and leaders in order to address the crisis in recruitment and retention.
She said: “I don’t want to deny judges a pay rise, and having good judges is the basis for a civilised society but so is having good teachers."