Exclusive: Government won’t release teachers’ pay report until after EU referendum

Exclusive: Government won't release teachers' pay report until after EU referendum

A key report from the body which recommends teachers’ pay will not be published until after the EU referendum, despite having been sent to government almost a month ago, Schools Week can reveal.

The eight-member School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which recommends how much of a pay rise teachers should receive each year, has confirmed in an email to Oxford professor John Howson that it sent its latest report to the Department for Education on April 28, the day before the deadline set by civil servants.

But despite the government having the report for more than 18 working days, it has been confirmed that the report and ministers’ response to it will not be published until after the vote on June 23, sparking speculation about the contents of the routine publication.

Although the body is expected to recommend uplifts for teachers, which fall broadly in line with the government’s 1 per cent cap on public sector pay rises, school leaders were still hoping the report and government response would be published before the pre-referendum “purdah” period kicks in tomorrow.

There is no official deadline or precedent for when the report must be published by the government, but last year’s report was uploaded to the Gov.uk website on March 12, and critics have questioned the need for such a long period between the receipt and publication of the document.

Howson, a University of Oxford statistician and teacher supply expert, said he was “annoyed” with the delay, and with the fact he only found out the report was in the hands of the government after he wrote a blog post which was critical of the STRB, which prompted a clarification from its secretariat.

He said: “The reports used to be published in January or February to fit with the local government cycle, but when it became known that it was effectively going to be 1 per cent, there was less pressure.

“But knowing that it is going to be that rate would lead you to assume that the government would have published the report immediately.”

Last year, the STRB’s review recommended an uplift of 1 per cent to the minimum salary in the main pay range and an uplift of 2 per cent to the maximum salary in the same range. The higher rise in the maximum salary was recommended because of the “importance” of pay prospects early in careers as a way of attracting people to the workforce.

The recommendations were made in the context of a demand by Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, for them to “reflect the average of up to 1 per cent pay award for public sector workers”, and the body will have had to observe the same direction this year.

Howson said: “There can only be two reasons they’re sitting on it, one is that the body has breached the 1 per cent overall rather than breaching it for some people but keeping it within the envelope, or that it said something pretty damning about teacher supply.”

This year’s report is also expected to include recommendations on bonuses for teachers after Morgan asked that additional flexibility for schools to reward good performance be considered by the body.

A department spokesperson would not say exactly when the documents would be published, but Schools Week understands they will not be out before tomorrow, which is the beginning of the pre-referendum purdah period, during which the government is restricted on what it can release.

The spokesperson added that the report would be published “once the government has considered its response”.