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'Worrying drop in real-terms pay for lecturers', report warns

A new analysis of the further education workforce in England “paints a worrying picture” of falling pay for teachers, according to a union.

The Further Education Workforce Data for England report, published today by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), reveals the average annual pay for full-time teachers dropped slightly last year, from £29,696 in 2011-12 and £29,647 in 2012-13.

But, given an annual Consumer Price Inflation rate of 2.7 per cent in September 2013, this amounts to a more significant fall in real terms, the report finds.

It also reveals a continuing gender divide in FE, with average full-time pay for all staff higher for men, at £27,522, than for women, at £25,824.

There is a significant amount of variation in pay across regions, with salaries highest in Greater London and lowest in the South East and the North East.

The report is based on analysis of data from the Staff Individualised Record, which is supplied by colleges on a voluntary basis. However, response rates have been declining over time, and in 2012-13 only around a third of colleges supplied up-to-date information, which the report admits is a “cause for concern.”

University and College Union head of further education, Andrew Harden, said: “This report actually paints a worrying picture of falling real pay for teachers.

“This is particularly worrying when you consider the large number of responses from the best-paid region, London, and the small responses from the worst-paid areas – which suggests the pay for many staff is less than reported here.

“It also lays bare just how badly further education lecturers are being treated and the inequalities in the sector. Too many colleges are not honouring nationally agreed pay increases and staff have seen their pay grow at half the rate of college principals in the last decade; the very people who are refusing to pay them properly.”

The report comes just days after the UCU announced it was to strike over declining pay.

The union’s FE committee voted to reject the Association of Colleges’ latest pay offer and in favour of joining other public sector unions in a day of action on 14 October.

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