The Tes reports that headteachers are stepping up their demands for bigger salary increases for teachers after it was revealed that the public sector pay cap will be lifted for police and prison officers.
Since 2013, pay rises for public sector workers, including teachers, have been capped at 1 per cent. But it has been confirmed today that police will receive a 2 per cent pay rise for 2017-18 – half of which is a one-off bonus – while prison officers will gain 1.7 per cent on average.
However, there is a chance that a more generous pay deal could be on the cards for next year, after the Treasury said today that pay “flexibility” may be needed in some parts of the public sector from 2018-19.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, said that failing to include teachers in today’s pay announcement was “short-sighted and wrong”, due to ongoing recruitment and retention problems, which have been highlighted today in a report by the National Audit Office.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that any increased flexibility over public sector pay was welcome but that the increases announced today for police and prison officers were still “well below inflation”. Inflation today hit a one-year high, at 2.9 per cent.
“People do not become teachers for the money. But they do expect fairness, and years of pay freezes and pay caps have left them feeling undervalued. They are long overdue a better deal.”
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The cap was not lifted this year for teachers and various other groups, resulting in pay being cut still further in real terms. We know that teacher supply is in crisis and, without sufficient teachers, the education of children will suffer. Giving teachers a fair pay rise is a crucial part of solving that problem.”
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