On 21 July 2020, the government released its proposed pay award for teachers and school leaders working in maintained schools for the academic year 2020/21 – the proposals accept all of the recommendations from the School Teachers Pay Review Body (STRB) 30th report. This includes the introduction of advisory pay points on the main and upper pay range.
The STRB report notes that the evidence shows that the teacher supply situation has continued to deteriorate, with particular difficulties for secondary schools and those in London. The review body notes that this has affected the profession at all stages, with indications of an increasing “challenge in retaining experienced classroom teachers and those in leadership roles” – a point that NAHT has been pressing over successive remits.
The STRB also recognises that consideration of this remit has taken place at a time of major economic and social disruption due to the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.
As such they have recommended
- A 5.5% uplift to the minimum of the MPR
- A 2.75% uplift to the minima and maximum of all other pay ranges and allowances
- That advisory pay points are reintroduced on the MPR and UPR scales (proposed levels for these pay points can be found in the annex of the STRB report)
The government announcement also makes it clear that the intention is that the pay award will be unfunded, with the cost of implementation to be covered from existing school budgets.
We welcome the fact that the STRB has again recognised the major recruitment and retention problems facing schools and the worsening position of teacher and leadership pay in real and comparative terms to other graduate professions.
Although the government has attempted to highlight that teachers and schools leaders are set to receive a 3.1% pay increase, the reality is that for the majority of teachers and school leaders the proposed pay award is 2.75%.
While this is a welcome departure from the below-inflation increases of recent years, today’s announcement on pay puts school leaders in a difficult position. It is deeply disappointing that the government has chosen not to fund the pay rise, meaning that schools will need to find the money from their existing budgets. With school budgets so tight, and the additional financial impacts from the pandemic being felt already, every penny a school spends requires a choice: spend here, cut somewhere else. Schools should not be forced to choose between paying their staff properly and additional investment in children’s education and support.
It is also disappointing that once again, our requests to press for a national framework that covers all roles, including school business leaders, has been ignored – something that we will pick up in our response to the proposals.
You can access our full response to the announcement here.
NAHT will now be consulted on the STRB report and the secretary of state’s response to the STRB report. As has happened for the last five years, the STRB report has been published extremely late in the academic year, leading to an unacceptably short timescale for statutory consultation on the government’s proposals and on the draft STPCD. We will again be emphasising the problems that this causes and will seek a more reasonable timetable in future years.
As in previous years, we will be updating members with further advice and guidance, including recommended pay scales, later in the summer.
First published 21 July 2020