Call for ‘significant’ teacher pay rise amid reports public sector cap will be lifted

CREDIT: This story was first seen in TES

Government refuses to deny reports it will allow public sector pay to increase by at least the rate of inflation, TES reports.

Teacher pay needs to rise significantly above inflation to avoid “closing the stable door after the teacher recruitment and retention horse has bolted”, a union leader has warned.

It comes amid reports that the government is preparing to start lifting the one per cent cap on public sector pay rises from next year. The Sun reported that pay would rise by at least inflation, and that the move would be brought in over two years because of its cost.

A Downing Street spokesperson today refused to deny the claims, and told reporters: “[The prime minister] has said on a number of occasions that many people in the public and private sectors feel they are just about managing. We recognise the sacrifice they are making. But there is a process in place.”

The Sun said that the policy, which would follow seven years of pay restraint, would be confirmed later this month when the Treasury issues guidance letters to pay review bodies before they consider next year’s pay rises.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, told Tes the union was “strongly in favour” of lifting the pay cap.

However, she added: “I think it’s going to take a significant pay rise because we need 50,000 teachers a year to either be recruited or return to the profession to keep steady, and we have the primary school bulge going to secondary schools.

“I think the situation now has deteriorated to where it will take more than a rise of the rate of inflation to attract and retain the teachers we need in the profession.”

In July 2017, the School Teachers Review Body, which makes recommendations about teacher pay, warned there was a “real risk” that schools will not be able to recruit and retain “high-quality” teachers because starting salaries for the profession continue to lag behind other graduate occupations.

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However, it recommended that the most teachers receive a one per cent pay rise, which was in line with guidance from the DfE.

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