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UK government finally confirms funding for Wales to cover the cost of the teachers’ 2018/19 pay increases

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Yesterday (13th September 2018), the UK government confirmed that the Welsh government will receive additional funding of £23.5m as a result of the Department for Education’s decision to increase pay for teachers in England and Wales for the 2018/19 pay award.

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns confirmed that the Welsh government will receive £8.7m in 2018/19 and £14.8m in 2019/20, representing the cost of the pay award for teachers in Wales.

Previous announcements had suggested that there would be no additional funding for Wales to cover the proposed 2018/19 pay award, with the Department for Education proposing to provide additional support only for schools in England.

NAHT has been campaigning hard to make the case for equivalent provision in Wales, including writing to all Welsh Westminster MPs and all assembly members, asking them for support in securing a fairer pay award.

NAHT has therefore welcomed this announcement. Rob Williams, policy director at Welsh school leaders' union NAHT Cymru, said: "This is the right thing to do, and the only thing to do. A pay award which excludes staff in Wales would never have been acceptable to anyone in the profession. Schools across Wales and across the rest of the UK are facing severe financial pressures and difficulty in recruiting and retaining teachers and leaders.

“While this year's pay award is an improvement on pay awards in recent years, teachers on the upper and leadership pay ranges are still only in line to receive 2% and 1.5% respectively, which, as the rate of inflation is 2.5%, still represents a pay cut. This follows many years of pay freezes and pay caps and will further demoralise our most experienced teachers and leaders, thereby further damaging retention.”

Only new money from the Treasury will solve the school funding and recruitment crisis.

The Welsh government will take responsibility for setting teachers’ pay in Wales from October 2018 when they will have the power to determine the future pay and conditions of teachers in Wales for academic years 2019/20 onwards.

First published 14 September 2018