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A bittersweet pay announcement

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The SoS has published the long-awaited STRB 28th report into teachers’ pay

Earlier today (24th July 2018), the Secretary of State finally published the long-awaited STRB's 28th report into teachers' pay. The STRB has considered our evidence alongside that of other stakeholders and recommended that a significant pay uplift is required to address the recruitment and retention challenges facing our schools and to keep the profession competitive.

The STRB recommended a 3.5% uplift to the minimum and maximum of all pay and allowance ranges.  The STRB's report set out that this needed to include leadership roles as "This aligns with what we have heard on our visits to schools around the country, as few classroom teachers tell us they aspire to become senior leaders, and most assistant and deputy heads we speak to do not wish to become head teachers. The statistical evidence available also supports this picture, showing emerging problems in recruiting and retaining school leaders."

Despite this, the Secretary of State set out in Parliament his proposal to implement the following pay award:

  • 3.5% to the minimum and maximum of the unqualified pay range and main pay range.
  • 2% to the minimum and maximum of the upper pay range, leading practitioner pay range and all allowances.
  • 1.5% to the minimum and maximum of the leadership pay ranges. 

As part of the proposals, the Secretary of State also set out that the DfE "will be supporting schools in England to implement the award with an investment of £508 million through a new teachers' pay grant of £187 million in 2018-19 and £321 million in 2019-20 from the existing Department for Education budget. This will cover, in full, the difference between this award and the cost of the 1% award that schools would have anticipated under the previous public sector pay cap. The grant will provide additional support to all maintained schools and academies, over and above the core funding that they receive through the national funding formula."

Further details on the distribution of the grant are due to be published when the pay award is confirmed. 

NAHT has made it clear in our public response that our members in England will have mixed views about this announcement. On the one hand, desperately wanting to reward and retain their valued staff, and relief that the DfE is helping fund the pay award as school budgets are already at breaking point. But feeling let down by the government, as the lower pay award for school leaders fails to recognise the critical role performed by leadership teams and will do little to retain valued and experienced leaders. However, there is no provision for similar funding to support the implementation of the pay award in Wales. Whilst the pay and conditions of teachers for 2018/19 continues to be driven by the DfE, NAHT is clear that it is unacceptable that they have failed to provide equity of treatment for schools in Wales. The Welsh government was not involved in the decisions about the pay award and have been unable to prepare for this unexpected cost. The Treasury must provide funding to cover the cost of this award in Wales. 

Members will also feel let down by the government, as the lower pay award for school leaders fails to recognise the critical role performed by leadership teams and will do little to retain valued and experienced leaders.  

It's clear from today's announcement that our campaigning on the twin crises in school funding and teacher retention has been partially heard by the DfE, with some additional funding provided for England but not Wales, 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 and left the Welsh government without any additional support highlighting for us the need to keep up the pressure on the Chancellor about the funding crisis.

We are disappointed that the DfE has departed from the STRB advice for the first time in many years, depriving school leaders of another 2% increase after years of real terms salary decline. NAHT has already come out on this publicly but we will be raising this with the Secretary of State and the Welsh government over the summer, both in our meetings and in our formal response to this consultation.

We will also be following up with our normal pay advice to members over the coming weeks.