Responding to the Secretary of State for Education’s letter to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) today, establishing their remit to make recommendations on the pay awards for 2019/20, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“This is a very worrying letter. It already sounds as though the government knows it will not have sufficient money to fund a real-terms pay rise for all teachers again next year. The 1% public sector pay cap may be gone, but austerity clearly isn’t. In effect, the STRB will once again be impossibly constrained.
“The STRB has already completed a rigorous and detailed consideration of the labour market last year, which took into account NAHT's own evidence, and they concluded that pay was a significant factor in the retention of existing teachers and school leaders. They agreed with NAHT and the other education unions that an above-inflation pay rise was needed for all pay grades. In the absence of new money for schools from the Treasury, the government chose to ignore these recommendations. This letter provides no assurances that they won’t do the same next year.
“The truth is that the majority of the school teaching workforce is still going to be worse off than last year. It was confirmed in Parliament on 1st November that 43.5% of the teacher workforce, or the 199,000 teachers currently on the Unqualified Teacher and Main Pay Range ranges will see an uplift of 3.5% to their pay range. The remaining 56.5% will see an increase to their pay ranges of between 1.5% and 2%. These so-called ‘increases’ are nothing more than a cut. There can be no doubt that teachers on lower salaries are in need of an uplift, but it is unfair to expect more experienced teachers and leaders to suffer another year of real terms cuts to their take-home pay.
“Insufficient school funding is one of the main reasons that school leaders are finding it difficult to recruit and retain staff. Only sufficient funding from the Treasury, including a fully-funded pay rise for all pay grades, can solve this.”
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