Unions demand 5% teacher pay increase

Teaching unions tell Gavin Williamson 2.75% offer will not solve recruitment and retention issues

Mark Smulian

teacher pay

A coalition of teacher trade unions has urged education secretary Gavin Williamson to almost double the government’s pay offer to their members.

In a letter to him they have said the 2.75 per cent offered was inadequate and asked instead for 5 per cent.

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The letter has been signed by the general secretaries of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the NAHT headteachers' union, the NEU teaching union and Voice.

They said that although the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) had recognised there were serious and deepening teacher recruitment and retention problems, the 2.75 per cent increase would be below both inflation and the rate of pay increases in the wider economy. 

The letter said the STRB had made a clear link between recruitment and retention problems and teacher pay, noting “evidence relating to pay shows teachers at all career stages lagging behind other graduate professions”.

It said the STRB’s 2.75 per cent recommendation “must be seen in the context of the lengthy period of real-terms cuts in teachers’ pay and the worsening position against other graduate professions and other groups in the wider economy”. 

Restoring the value of teachers’ pay after a period of pay freezes, caps and below-inflation pay awards would therefore need an increase of 5 per cent.

They said this must be fully funded by the government whereas the current 2.75 per cent offer was made on the basis that schools would meet the first 2.0 per cent.

“The new prime minister has pledged to reverse the education cuts,” the general secretaries wrote.

“This must include providing additional funding to cover the full 2.75 per cent pay increase. Without this, schools will have to make significant cuts to spending from other areas of their already overstretched budgets. This will undoubtedly result in job losses which will only exacerbate the recruitment and retention crisis.”   

They also complained that the pay offer had come so late that there was “an unacceptably short timescale for this statutory consultation”, leaving schools to face difficulties in budget setting.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The School Teacher’s Review Body has recommended a 2.75 per cent rise for classroom teachers this academic year – equivalent to a £1,000 increase on average classroom teacher pay, subject to performance.

“We have also announced that by 2022, the starting salary for teachers will rise by nearly £6,000 to £30,000 - the biggest reform to teachers’ pay in a generation.”

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Mark Smulian

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