Joint statement from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) Cymru, the National Education Union (NEU) Cymru, Voice, and Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (UCAC)
This statement follows the announcement on the teachers’ pay award made by the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, in the House of Commons on Tuesday 24 July. The fact that it comes jointly from several education unions in Wales demonstrates our grave concern about how this pay award will be funded in Wales and the potential impact on Welsh schools.
The decision on teachers’ pay is currently not a devolved matter and applies to teachers and leaders in both England and Wales. However, there is no additional government funding for either England or Wales.
The DfE is providing some additional funding from within its own budgets for English schools, but no arrangements have been announced for Welsh schools.
It is disingenuous to announce a pay award for teachers in England and Wales and then not fund that award for a proportion of teachers. Our unions feel it is incumbent upon the Treasury to fund the pay award in full for all teachers and leaders in both England and Wales.
Should the Treasury not decide to fully fund this award, we would urge the Welsh Government to follow up its many assertions of valuing its teachers, by finding the funding needed to ensure that the cost of this award is covered in full and does not put an unaffordable pressure on school budgets which are already under severe strain. This additional cost would inevitably drive more schools into deficit and necessitate cutbacks which will impact on pupils.
We are surprised and disappointed that little thought appears to have been given to how this award will be funded in Wales. We would have expected that consideration would have been given to this matter prior to Tuesday’s announcement and that it would have been accompanied with information about how the award would be met in Wales.
We are sending this statement to the Treasury, the Department for Education in Westminster and to the Welsh Government and we are inviting them to respond accordingly.
We note also that the pay award itself fails to recognise the hard work and professionalism of many senior teachers and leaders. While we welcome an uplift of 3.5% for teachers on the main pay range – after many years of pay caps and pay freezes – teachers on the upper and leadership ranges will receive a below-inflation pay award, which goes directly against the independent advice from the School Teachers’ Review Body to award them 3.5%.
As this is a cost-of-living increase it is invidious to pay it at different rates when all teachers and leaders deserve an award which at least maintains the value of their salaries. It also fails to address the need to ensure that we retain more experienced teachers and leaders in the profession.
First published 26 July 2018