Teacher pay

Give teachers and leaders ‘double digit’ pay rise, says NAHT

Primary heads' union becomes latest to demand above-inflation rise and restoration of pay following real-terms cuts

Primary heads' union becomes latest to demand above-inflation rise and restoration of pay following real-terms cuts

Paul Whiteman

The government must hand teachers and leaders a “double digit” pay rise next year, the country’s largest headteachers’ union has said.

The National Association of Head Teachers, which mostly represents primary leaders, has published its evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body.

In it, the organisation called for an increase above the CPI inflation rate for June 2023, which was 7.3 per cent.

For the avoidance of doubt, the uplift required to signal change to the profession will need to be in double digits

They also want an “additional element to begin restoration of the real terms value of teachers’ and school leaders’ pay against losses caused by below inflation uplifts since 2010”.

It comes after the government warned the STRB it wanted to see pay rises return to a “more sustainable” level than in the last two years, when pay rose by 5 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively.

The government’s analysis has also predicted schools will only have headroom to raise spending by 1.2 per cent next year, which would only cover a rise of around 2 per cent. Inflation stood at 4 per cent in January.

ASCL, the NAHT’s sister union which mostly represents secondary leaders, called last week for a “fully-funded, above inflation pay increase” next year and a plan to “fully restore the erosion of pay” since 2010.

Union urges ‘major correction’

In its evidence, the NAHT urged the STRB to “recommend a major correction to teaching professionals’ pay through an undifferentiated, fully funded uplift to all salaries and allowances in payment from September 2024”.

Last year, unions accepted a 6.5 per cent pay rise for most teachers, averting further strikes by the National Education Union and potential walk-outs by the NASUWT, NAHT and ASCL, which balloted for strike action for the first time.

But Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis shows pay for experienced teachers fell by around 12 per cent in real-terms between 2010 and 2022.

To be effective, any pay rise next year must “improve the competitiveness of teaching professionals’ pay against earnings in the wider economy”, NAHT said.

It must be higher than 7.3 per cent – the CPI inflation rate recorded in the year to last June – unless monthly measures of inflation “rise above this level between now and September”.

And it must contain an “additional element to begin restoration of the real terms value of teachers’ and school leaders’ pay against losses caused by below inflation uplifts since 2010”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the uplift required to signal change to the profession will need to be in double digits.”

The union said its proposal was “not for a pay ‘increase’”.

“Rather it simply seeks the necessary improvements to protect current salaries against inflation, improve pay competitiveness, and restore the value of pay to 2010 levels.”

Inflation ‘baked in’

They also warned that “any reduction in the rate of current inflation merely indicates that prices are increasing at a slower rate”.

“Should the rate by which prices are increasing abate, previous inflation, and the detriment to salaries caused by over a decade of below inflation uplifts, remain baked in.”

The NAHT has also called for a “clear action plan and timeframe to resolve the longstanding issues that result from the current broken and dysfunctional pay system” after the general election, which needs to be held by January 2025 at the latest.

They want “mandatory minimum pay points and pay portability”, a “comprehensive review” of the factors that determine leadership pay and a “professional pay continuum that supports new career pathways and delivers pay progression for teachers and school leaders”.

Government should also “codify” executive leadership roles within a revised pay and conditions document, including or aligning school business leader roles.

The NAHT also wants “protected leadership time for assistant and deputy head teachers, and head teachers of small schools”, along with the promotion of “genuinely flexible approaches to working, such as phased retirement options”.

The union pointed to last year’s teacher workforce census figures, which showed teacher vacancies at the highest level since 2010.

Across teaching and leadership roles, the number rose to 2,334 in 2022-23, compared with 1,564 the year before – a rise of 49 per cent.

General secretary Paul Whiteman said: “These figures show the real-life impact of the government’s neglect of teaching staff over the last decade.

“For every school that is missing a permanent member of staff, that is a teacher not present for children in the way that is so vitally needed.”

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  1. Tom Felton

    Perhaps teachers pay and pensions should be linked to that of our Members of Parliament. Having butchered the teachers pension scheme does the Minister now expect to take similar action with the current pay round? Having kept things going during Covid, a reasonable pay deal is thoroughly deserved.

  2. Gez Park

    I retired early this year due to numerous factors in the state system. The most critical in terms of pay was that anyone with a pension that is linked to inflation would get 7% where as serving teachers would get perhaps 4 or 5 if they are lucky. What is the point when your pay is going backwards in real terms. Get out if you can.

  3. Panna Raichura

    I agree Tom, but there are others who work in the classroom, who get no airtime on national news and are not supported as robustly by Unions. Most people do not even know that a payrise for Teachers does not mean a payrise for Teaching assistants.
    The focus is on teachers and leaders to get what they deserve. It is unfortunate the Unions do not put hardly any pressure for Teaching Assistants to get paid what they deserve. They are the backbone of a classroom and the teachers would not be able to deliver curriculums without them.
    They work hard and assist teachers in all mainstream settings and have much more responsibility in SEN settings, but no real pay rises.
    I am all for everyone being paid appropriately and think the Unions need to fight for Teaching Assistants too.

    • Panna, you won’t see a payrise for support staff unless you see a payrise for Teachers and Leaders. They aren’t going to pay the worker more than the boss.
      I have worked as both support and a teacher for 17 years. I have also worked in middle leadership for several of these. I fully support the cause of all support workers, having been there myself. But without the teacher rise, you undermine the support rise.
      Support did receive approximately £1925 recently and I know that this is not enough and will throw my support behind the cause for more.
      Don’t see it as ‘If they deserve a rise, so do we’. See it as ‘We all deserve a rise’ and do what you can to support your union.