How does NAHT campaign on pay?
We do this in a variety of ways (for example, drawing on our survey evidence from members about the recruitment and retention crisis facing the profession and other sources of evidence). Each year, we set out the case for an uplift to pay by presenting evidence to the School Teachers' Review Body, which has a statutory remit to make a recommendation to government on pay.
We work closely with other unions – this year, we campaigned for a 5% pay uplift to all salaries and allowances in payment, for all teachers and school leaders.
Not all of our campaigning takes place in the public domain – indeed, there is a great deal of discussion and lobbying that happens through meetings with officials and ministers.
What case did NAHT make to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) this year?
We gathered compelling evidence that made a forceful case for a fully-funded real-terms pay rise, which would deliver protection against current inflation and include a restorative element that would act as a first step towards returning the real value of teachers' and school leaders' pay to 2010 levels.
We urged the STRB not to adopt a differentiated approach to pay on the basis that focusing an increase only on those in the very early years of teaching would be misguided and unfair, sap the morale of experienced teachers and senior leaders, and further undermine retention.
We made two formal written submissions and also gave oral evidence to the School Teachers' Review Body. You can read our submissions here.
What did the STRB recommend?
The STRB accepted the case we made for an across the board uplift. It recognised that teachers' pay had fallen behind other graduate professions, accepted there's a steadily worsening recruitment and retention crisis, and acknowledged the increasing difficulty in recruiting and retaining school leaders.
The STRB rejected the government's suggestion that the pay uplift should be differentiated in favour of early career teachers.
Instead, it recommended that from September 2018, all pay and allowance ranges for teachers and school leaders should be uplifted by 3.5%. Although this would have fallen short of the 5% we had jointly campaigned for, it would have represented a real-terms increase for the profession as a whole and provided a first step towards restoring the real value of teachers' and school leaders' pay.
What did the Secretary of State announce?
The secretary of state chose not to accept the STRB's recommendations. Instead, Damian Hinds announced a differentiated pay award specifically against the advice of the review body, which restricts those on the upper pay range to a 2% uplift and those on leadership grades to a 1.5% uplift.
This fails to recognise the critical role played by school leaders and experienced teachers, and it will do nothing to address the woeful retention rates in the profession. The IFS confirmed that approaching two-thirds of the profession will receive a below inflation pay rise.
What did NAHT do in response to the secretary of state's announcement?
Over the summer, NAHT met with Department for Education (DfE) officials in a series of bilateral and joint union meetings to challenge the proposals. During the same period, we also held bilateral and joint meetings where we influenced the development of the Teachers' Pay Grant mechanism, which will provide additional funding to schools for the element of the pay award above 1%.
We submitted our formal response to the statutory consultation on the secretary of state's announcement, agreed a joint union position and response, and met again with the STRB. Throughout, we have continued to press for a fully-funded pay uplift for all teachers and school leaders.
We achieved a significant policy win when the secretary of state confirmed that the DfE would provide funding for the pay increase for teachers and school leaders in Wales, on the same basis as England. This followed our lobbying of all Welsh MPs and Assembly Members, and a formal letter from Paul Whiteman to the Welsh First Minister.
What advice has NAHT issued to members?
Following DfE's confirmation of the pay award, we have once again agreed on joint union pay scales and provided guidance for members (available from this page on our website).
So, has NAHT 'accepted' the pay award?
No. We have communicated clearly to the government our members' anger and disappointment. We're using every available opportunity to continue to press for a real-terms, restorative pay rise for school leaders.
We are fully engaged in joint union campaigning strategies that press the government to accept in full the recommendations of the STRB. We also continue to bring pressure to bear on DfE through other related policy strands.
First published 07 October 2018