Unions press Hinds on teacher pay delay

Complaint about 'wholly unnecessary uncertainty' from education secretary, who has had pay report since May

Hélène Mulholland

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Unions have written to education secretary Damian Hinds to press him to "urgently”  decide on the pay recommendation for teachers amid mounting concern at the delay as schools head for the summer break. 

The letter was dispatched by five unions frustrated by the lack of response from the Department for Education over the pay rise teachers can expect from this September.

The delay means that the required four-week consultation that has to take place is now set to dovetail with the summer break. 

The development comes as the University and College Union has threatened strike action in colleges this autumn over staff pay, after the Association of Colleges claimed that a rise would be "inconceivable" without extra government funding.

The letter over school teachers' pay, signed by the leaders of ASCL, NAHT, NEU, Voice and UCAC, who submitted a joint pay claim of 5 per cent, urges the education secretary to give his response to the School Teachers’ Review Body report (STRB) "and to publish both the report and your response as soon as possible.”

It went on: “The end of term is imminent. Schools in some areas have already closed for thesummer. Headteachers and their teaching staff do not know what is happening with regard to pay.

"Governing bodies cannot discuss how they will implement the pay increase. No one knows whether your government plans to support the pay increase with additional funding.

“This situation of uncertainty is wholly unnecessary. You have had the STRB’s report since early May. A prompt announcement would have allowed head teachers and governing bodies to discuss the situation, consult with staff and decide a position before the end of term.

"That will not now be possible. The new school year will start in a climate of uncertainty about pay and funding which could have been avoided."

The unions also stressed that the forthcoming pay offer must be fully funded by additional money from the Treasury.

“We hope that this will form the basis of your announcement and that additional funding will cover the costs of pay increases both for teachers and for support staff.

"We also hope that you will continue to press the Chancellor for improved education funding as a priority in his autumn budget and his comprehensive spending review.

"We would be delighted if you would join us in drawing up a joint statement on the need for better funding for the whole of the education service, whether in schools, colleges, early years institutions, special educational provision and elsewhere.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “The Education Secretary has been clear that there can be no great schools without great teachers.

“That is why we have committed to making sure that teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession, and are working with the unions to strip away workload that doesn’t add value, improve conditions and offer all teachers high quality professional development.

“We are considering the STRB report carefully and will respond in due course.”

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Hélène Mulholland

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