Today a letter sent from the Treasury to the School Teachers' Review Body indicates that the public sector pay cap will soon be lifted for school staff. Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, says it is welcome news but must be fully funded in order to be meaningful.
Mr Whiteman commented: “As the letter says, the government has recognised that depressed pay is contributing to a shortage of recruits and the ability to hold on to talented and experienced school staff.”
The letter comes after sustained pressure from NAHT. The association wrote to Justine Greening earlier in the month highlighting the growing evidence that teacher recruitment is being harmed by low pay. The National Audit Office’s report on ‘Retaining and developing the teaching workforce’ also painted a pretty bleak picture of schools unable to fill vacancies and of teachers increasingly leaving the sector before they reach retirement age.
Mr Whiteman added: “NAHT would like to see a national framework that defines the roles and sets out the pay and conditions of everyone employed in a national, publicly funded education system, including School Business Leaders, Executive Heads and CEO roles.
“Until now, the STRB has been impossibly constrained. It is now crystal clear that the review body was not able to recommend a pay award based on the evidence. There is a strong moral case for increasing public sector pay, which has been obstructed up to now by stubborn political rhetoric. There’s nothing fair about that.
“It is clear that a new approach to pay is needed. The STRB needs a remit that can look beyond a 1 per cent maximum and, crucially, all pay rises must be fully funded into school budgets otherwise they will be meaningless in practice."
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