Hinds tells review body 2019-20 teacher pay rises must be 'affordable'

Education secretary Damian Hinds has urged the independent teacher pay body to give “careful consideration” about whether any pay rises recommended for next year are “affordable across the school system”.

Hinds, in a letter to the School Teachers’ Review Body, outlined his expectation that the body also informs him of the steps they have taken to ensure affordability has been given due consideration when reaching the recommendations for pay rises in 2019-20.

He also urged the body to consider “how the pay award can best encourage high quality entrants to join the profession and support their progression within the workforce”.

He said: “The government has adopted a more flexible approach to public sector pay, to address areas of skills shortages and in return for improvements to public sector productivity. However, in reaching your recommendations on 2019-20 pay award, you will want to ensure they are affordable.”

Hinds also pledged to issue another remit letter in the new year around the body’s previous calls to review the classroom teacher pay framework to ensure it’s “clear and compelling”.

Hinds said the department is developing its recruitment and retention strategy, and has considered the recommendation of how the pay system can “best support schools” with recruitment and retention challenges.

His letter will ask for recommendations on how to ensure classroom teacher pay is “suitably differentiated to meet current challenges and how remaining rigidities can be reformed to create a more attractive offer for teachers at all career stages”.

Hinds, in a press release issued today, added it was “important schools are able to recruit, retain and fairly reward the teachers they need”.

“We recently boosted budgets by £508 million over two years to give hard-working teachers a pay increase and have given schools freedom over staff pay so they can reward the most experienced teachers and attract the brightest and best.

“To ensure that continues I have now asked the independent School Teachers’ Review Body to consider a range of evidence – including affordability – and provide its recommendations on teacher pay for the coming year.”

Last year the STRB called for a 3.5 per cent pay rise for all pay scales. The government only agreed to apply this just to the main pay range and unqualified teacher pay range for classroom teachers. Schools also had to cover the first one per cent of rises.

However as Schools Week revealed in September, schools were still left with a further shortfall over the funding.

Hinds urged the STRB to provide its report by early May next year.