The Guardian teachers are more than £5,000 a year worse off on average in real terms than in 2010 – according to analysis of official data showing the effect of years of pay restraint on the profession.
With millions of children returning to school this week after the summer holidays, teaching unions said the marked decline in salaries was one of many factors causing an ever more serious recruitment crisis .
The data, released by Labour, and based on school workforce statistics and government inflation figures, shows how teachers’ earnings have been eroded, as annual increases in pay have fallen below the rate of inflation. In 2010, the mean wage paid to teachers in state-funded schools was £34,800. By 2016 this had risen to just £35,100 as the government clamped down on public spending. Assuming the level rises by the 1% maximum permitted under the pay cap, it will hit £35,451 this year. But had the mean salary risen at the rate of inflation (as measured by the consumer price index) every year since 2010 it would now be well above £40,000 a year.
According to NASUWT research, 70% of teachers surveyed believed that prospective teachers were put off by the uncompetitive pay, and 82% said salaries were not competitive with other occupations. As a result, 72% said they would not recommend a career in teaching.
The latest figures from TeachVac, a free national job service for schools, show vacancies in London grew by 12% between 2015 and 2017 and by 6% in north-west England, according to a sample of almost 1,000 schools in each area.
Before MPs broke up for the summer, many senior Tories demanded that Theresa May end the 1% cap on public-sector pay rises, which is due to continue until 2020. An announcement on the cap is expected in the budget in November.
Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary, said: “These stark figures show that the average teacher is now thousands of pounds worse off than they were in 2010, and the government’s plans to continue with the pay cap will only make matters worse. The consequence is that schools are now struggling to find and keep the staff who run our classrooms. The Tories have missed their recruitment targets five years running and for two years in a row more teachers have left the profession than joined.”
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