Joint union response on teachers’ pay

Three education unions today welcomed the announcement of a 3.5% pay increase for classroom teachers on the main pay range and the Department for Education’s commitment to funding part of this pay award. This shows that the penny may have dropped in terms of the government recognising the scale of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. The ASCL reports.

However they expressed a number of concerns:

  • It is unacceptable that pay awards for leaders and for teachers on the upper pay range will only be funded at a lower rate, and this decision flies in the face of the recommendation made by the independent School Teachers’ Review Body for an across-the-board increase on pay and allowances at the same rate. The pay award is supposed to reflect the cost-of-living and therefore paying it at different rates is unfair and demoralising – especially at a time when recruiting leaders to schools is so challenging.

  • We are disappointed the Treasury has refused to fund the pay award and left it to the DfE to find the necessary funding by cutting other areas of the education budget which are also important. Our education unions believe that the Treasury has a responsibility to fund pay awards for public servants as recommended by the independent pay body.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“The DfE and the Secretary of State deserve credit for an improved pay award and a commitment to providing extra funding. However, it is deeply unfair that the pay award for leaders and for teachers on the upper pay range will be funded at a lower rate and they will regard this decision as a kick in the teeth for their hard work. It is also regrettable that the pay award is only partially funded and that the DfE has had to find that money from down the back of the departmental sofa as this will impact on other education services. This is clearly a short-term political solution driven by the refusal of the Treasury to fund the pay award and we need longer-term strategic thinking from the government as a whole.”

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

We welcome a 3.5% rise in main scale teachers’ pay. This has been achieved because the DfE has been forced to recognise the strength of our evidence that growing teacher shortages are harming education standards. Our successful campaign on school funding, working with parental groups and other unions, has forced the DfE to find funding for this pay award – but schools and parents will be dismayed that schools will have to find more than £250m from their already stretched budgets. We are concerned, too, that the DfE will be forced by the Treasury to make unacceptable cuts to other parts of its education budget and we will monitor this carefully. We regret that the DfE has not accepted the STRB’s recommendation of 3.5% for all teachers and school leaders, and we will continue to campaign for this and for improved funding for all schools, as the government moves into the comprehensive spending review.”

Read more concerns and comments from the teaching unions  Joint union response on teachers’ pay

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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