Consider targeting future pay rises to shortage areas, STRB says

School Teachers' Review Body is 'deeply concerned' about recruitment levels and calls for 'targeted remuneration'

School Teachers' Review Body is 'deeply concerned' about recruitment levels and calls for 'targeted remuneration'

Ministers should consider “targeting” pay to address “persistent” shortage subject recruitment and other workforce challenges, the school independent pay body has warned.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) report was finally published today, recommending a 6.5 per cent teacher pay rise, which ministers have accepted.

But the body also made wider observations about working conditions of teachers and school leaders.

They were “deeply concerned” about recruitment levels and “what appears to be a firmly established and persistent problem of under-recruitment in certain subjects”.

Thirteen secondary subjects did not achieve their recruitment targets in 2022-23.

They noted that the recruitment and retention situation is “more acute” in some areas that others, for example in particular subjects, roles and settings.

STRB graph on teacher recruitment
Source STRB report

While they considered whether targeted payments were needed in shortfall areas, they decided that the priority was “correcting the general deterioration of teachers’ pay”.

But in future “targeting remuneration to address particular workforce challenges should be considered”.

However it should respect concerns “about equity and fairness,” which the unions stressed to them, the report added.

Schools Week reported in January how education secretary Gillian Keegan had raised the prospect of paying teachers in shortage subjects more during pay crunch talks. But nothing has materialised.

STRB: ‘Withdraw performance-related pay’

The STRB also said the existing obligation on schools to operate performance-related pay progression should be withdrawn, “pending further work”.

They found the “burden of administering it exceeds any benefit that it is achieving” and heard views “its outcomes are not fully equitable” for groups with protected characteristics or part-time workers.

A “meaningful reduction” in workload should be an “immediate priority” and detailed equality and inclusion data should be published annually, the report observed.

STRB also suggested a “more nuanced framework” is needed for teacher career progression. There is “insufficient clarity” on career pathways which could impact the attractiveness of teaching, they added.

Keegan announced a “workload reduction taskforce” and that a revised list of administrative tasks that teachers shouldn’t be expected to do will be added into teachers’ conditions.

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