Schools must fund majority of ‘inadequate’ teacher pay rise

The NEU and ASCL have responded to the news that teachers will receive a 2.75% pay rise

The new STRB report confirms that teachers will receive a 2.75% pay rise, but education workers and unions have reacted with anger to the fact that two per cent of that must be sourced via schools’ own budget.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The refusal of the government to fully fund this inadequate pay increase for teachers sends out a devastating message to teachers and parents.

“The government expects schools to find the missing money from resources that are already scarce following the real-terms cuts to school funding.

“Teachers and parents will be disappointed that the government is not even providing the funding for the inadequate pay increase recommended by the STRB.

“Despite the need for additional investment in schools and in teacher pay, the government is effectively loading further costs of £280m onto schools.

“Last year the DfE funded everything above one per cent, and this year they are expecting schools to find the first two per cent of the 2.75% pay rise, with the remainder coming from as yet unspecified pre-existing DfE budgets. This means more cuts.

“The STRB report confirms that the teacher recruitment and retention problems have continued to deteriorate and links these problems clearly to the steady decline in the competitiveness of teacher pay, but the recommended 2.75% teacher pay increase is below RPI inflation and average earnings across the wider economy.

“The government will only solve teacher recruitment and retention problems when it reverses the real-terms cuts to teacher pay and restores the competitiveness of teacher pay.

“Its failure to even begin that process means that the profession will continue to struggle to attract and retain the teachers we need at a time of growing pupil numbers.

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“The NEU will continue to campaign for the improvements in teacher pay that are needed to solve the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

“The government has ignored the overwhelming evidence that cuts to teacher pay are contributing to a major recruitment and retention crisis. That crisis affects teachers and the children they educate.

“The new prime minister needs to act on this immediately. The NEU called for a fully funded increase of five per cent as the starting point for the restoration of the real-terms cuts to teacher pay.

“The NEU and its members will continue to campaign for the pay our teachers deserve.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, added:

The government has managed to achieve the worst of all worlds by announcing a derisory pay settlement for teachers which schools cannot afford to deliver.

The much-trailed award of 2.75% is well below what is needed to make up for years of erosion in the real value of pay, or to improve teacher recruitment and retention at a time of severe shortages.

Worse still, our reading of the government’s statement is that the first two per cent of the award will have to come from existing school budgets which are already under intense pressure and cannot sustain more unfunded costs.

It is inevitable that this will result in more cutbacks, and while schools will do their best to implement the increase, we would not be surprised if some are unable to do so.

The fact that this announcement has been made so late is not at all helpful for schools as they have had no time to factor these costs into next year’s budgets.”

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