Teachers should have a fully-funded 5 per cent pay increase in September 2019 in order to “address the fundamental problems of teacher supply”, say unions.
The call comes in a joint submission to the School Teachers' Review Body, which recommends pay awards to the government, by the Association of School and College Leaders, the NAHT headteachers' union, the NEU teaching union and the Voice teaching union.
They say that it was “deeply damaging” of the education secretary to depart from the review body’s recommendation for a pay rise of 3.5 per cent for all salaries in the current year.
The pay award this year was differentiated with a 3.5 per cent rise for those on the main pay scale, 2 per cent for those on the upper pay range and 1.5 per cent for leaders.
The unions’ letter to the STRB states: “Most of the profession experienced another significant real-terms cut in pay, despite the overwhelming evidence of the need for a restorative pay increase.
"The damage was compounded by the government’s refusal to fully fund even the lower pay increases it implemented.”
Teacher pay 'damaging morale'
It adds that differentiated pay awards are “hugely unhelpful” and “damage morale”.
It also says that teacher supply problems remain critical.
“The STRB must move beyond asking schools to manage the damage. To address the fundamental problems of teacher supply, the STRB must recommend an increase in teacher pay significantly above inflation,” the letter states.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said: “We already have a full-blown teacher recruitment and retention crisis, and with pupil numbers projected to rise by 368,000 over the next six years, the crisis will deepen unless we are able to attract and retain more teachers.
"Teachers’ pay must be improved and it is imperative that this cost is funded in full by the government rather than it landing on school budgets which are under unsustainable pressure.”
The letter has been published on the day the government launched its recruitment and retention strategy, which includes bursary reforms to reward teachers who stay in the profession.
A DfE spokesperson said: “The education secretary has been clear that championing teachers is his number one priority. Today, we announced our recruitment and retention strategy which sets out measures to support talented teachers, recruit more and reduce workload. Working with teachers, school leaders, trusts and unions, this strategy will help to support teachers to do what they do best – teach.”
“This summer we announced the biggest pay award in almost 10 years – a 3.5 per cent increase to the main pay range for classroom teachers supported by £508 million. We also announced uplifts of 2 per cent to the upper pay range for higher-paid teachers and 1.5 per cent to the leadership pay range. We increased the main pay range by 3.5 per cent to both raise starting salaries significantly and target salary increases on the lowest paid teachers."