Damian Hinds confirms government-funded teacher pay rise

The secretary of state for education has confirmed that a pay rise for teachers will occur, with £508m in funding being promised; education unions have, however, called it a “short-term solution”

The UK government has announced that it will be funding a long-awaited pay rise for teachers.

Damian Hinds, secretary of state for education, has confirmed that £508m will be poured into ensuring that the main pay range for classroom teachers will rise by 3.5%.

The wage increase was recommended by the independent School Teachers’ Review Body. Hinds said of the move:

“There are no great schools without great teachers and I want us to recruit and retain brilliant teachers who are fairly rewarded for the vital work they do.

“Today we are announcing a fully funded pay rise of up to 3.5% – or between £800 and £1,366 – for classroom teachers on the main pay range, two per cent for those on the upper pay range and 1.5% for those in leadership positions.

“This will mean that teaching continues to be a competitively rewarded career, and I will continue to work with the profession, Ofsted and the unions on issues like excessive workload, professional development and flexible working, to make sure teaching remains an attractive, fulfilling profession.”

Staff pay will still be determined by the schools employing them, but the government increase in pay has been guaranteed and will be paid to all schools on top of their core budgets.

The £508m boost could mean between £1,184 and £1,366 being added to teachers’ salaries, or an increase of £802 to £1,003 for new teachers.

The funding is part of the government’s plan to better invest in public services. However, this pay award is not fully-funded – the first one per cent of the boost must be funded by schools themselves from their strained budgets.

The ASCL, NAHT and the NEU have all responded to Hinds’ promise whilst highlighting the issues within it.

Geoff Barton, ASCL’s general secretary, 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.”

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Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, added:

“School leaders will have mixed views about this announcement. They desperately want to reward and retain their valued staff, and they will be relieved that the DfE will make an additional contribution to the pay award, as school budgets are already at breaking point.

“However, by ignoring the STRB’s advice that all teachers and school leaders need the same pay rise, they have failed to recognise and reward the critical role performed by leadership teams. This will do little to retain valued and experienced senior teachers and leaders. Our members will feel let down by the government.

“All teachers and leaders deserve a decent pay rise after a decade of real terms cuts. The DfE appear to have finally grasped the scale of the twin crises in school funding and teacher retention. But it is disappointing that the Treasury has not listened. By abdicating responsibility for funding these awards, the treasury has forced the Department for Education to scramble for money within their own department. We will have to wait to see what cuts have to be made elsewhere to find this money but it seems like a false economy by the government.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, commented:

“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.”

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