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'Disgraceful' – NAHT responds to the DfE’s attempt to impose a de facto pay cap

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The campaign for the 2019/20 pay award has begun in earnest.  Last week NAHT submitted our detailed evidence to the School Teachers' Review Body.

We called on the STRB to:

  • stand firm in its view that an above inflation uplift is required for all salaries and allowances in payment
  • accept the overwhelming evidence that pay is a critical element in the long-standing recruitment and retention crisis afflicting the teaching profession
  • accept the pressing need to make teaching salaries more competitive to create an attractive proposition for graduates entering the profession
  • accept that reversing the real terms decline in teachers' and school leaders' pay is critical to improving retention rates
  • reject the Secretary of State's attempt to fetter the STRB's independence by imposing 'affordability' criteria upon it.

We have issued a joint union call for a five per cent uplift to all salaries and allowances from September 2019.

NAHT was the first union to respond to the DfE's evidence to the STRB. 

  • DfE has once again constrained the STRB's independent considerations by effectively imposing a two per cent 'affordability' ceiling on the 2019 pay uplift. 
  • NAHT roundly rejects DfE's conflation of the annual pay uplift with performance related pay progression. 
  • We also reject the notion propagated by DfE that there is a choice to be made between paying teachers and school leaders properly, and providing sufficient funding for schools to invest in their staff and pupils.

Paul Whiteman said: "Affordability should not be part of the STRB's remit. It is an independent body and should not have its deliberations influenced in this way before they have even begun. The Review Body is charged with arriving at an evidence-based view in order to make recommendations on the salary and allowance ranges for teachers and school leaders, so that pay is competitive in the context of the wider labour market in England.

"Following years of caps damaging to public sector pay, it is disgraceful for the government to impose another one, this time of 2%. It should be remembered that the government's decision to make a differentiated pay settlement last year, delivered a pay cut in real terms for all but a third of teachers, including the most experienced staff and leaders.

"Further depressions to pay will undermine the success of the government's own recruitment and retention strategy which was widely welcomed at the beginning of the week.

"In our full submission to the STRB delivered this week, we make the case for a fully funded 5% increase for all teachers and leaders. This is vital if we are to plug the leaky pipeline of teacher recruitment and retention in England."

First published 06 February 2019