Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, the union which represents leaders in most schools, said: “Raising teachers’ pay is the right thing to do. Along with the other unions, we have been calling for a 5 per cent increase, so we’ll have to look at these figures in more detail over the coming days to see whether this pledge matches up.
“We desperately need to make teachers’ pay competitive with other graduate career choices if we are going to plug the leaky pipeline of recruitment and retention. At present, the government is missing its recruitment targets every year, and a third of new teachers leave the profession before they’ve completed five years’ service. That’s a crazy situation that needs an immediate remedy.
“It should be remembered that teachers and leaders have seen their wages fall in real terms every year for the past decade, so it is welcome that the government is beginning to recognise that the essential work they do needs to be rewarded properly. Just as important is that teachers at every stage of their careers have access to high quality to support and training. This would raise the status of the profession at the same time as encouraging more people to stay.
“Crucially, all of these pay and support measures need to be fully funded by the government, so that the money announced for schools on Friday is not immediately swallowed up by today’s proposals. That would be wrong if it does.
“Finally, we’d urge the government not to overuse the word ‘generous’ when it comes to pensions. A pension is a just entitlement for teachers and leaders, who also pay in through their salaries and it is earned over a lifetime of service.”
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