The headteachers’ union NAHT is demanding a five-per-cent pay rise for all school leaders and teachers.
The National Association of Head Teachers has asked the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) to recommend a “significant increase” in pay, and an increase in school funding to pay for it, insisting that a big rise is required to address the recruitment and retention crisis.
The union’s general secretary Paul Whiteman said teachers’ pay had fallen by 10.5 per cent in real terms since 2010, and school leaders are finding it “impossible” to offer attractive salaries, which causes recruitment rates to fall and more teachers to leave the profession.
“The government must make the changes necessary to ensure a workforce that can deliver the best education for all,” he said.
Since 2011, average pay rises for public sector workers have been capped at one per cent. In July, a STRB report into pay rates recommended the maximum allowed one per cent pay rise and warned that poor recruitment and retention rates are presenting a “substantial risk to the functioning of an effective education system”.
However, in September the chief secretary to the treasury Liz Truss wrote to the chair of the STRB, Dr Patricia Rice, to give her body the “flexibility” to recommend an average pay rise above the cap for 2018/19 in response to growing pressure on the government.
And in December, the former education secretary Justine Greening also wrote to Dr Rice to ask her to consider a “more flexible approach to public sector pay” and particularly look at how pay for teachers in the early years of their career could make sure “high-quality” trainees enter the profession.
The NAHT also entered a joint submission with other teaching unions to the STRB last week, asking it to address the “decline in teachers’ real pay” over the last seven years. This follows an open letter to Greening signed by the heads of six major unions in November, calling for a similar five-per-cent rise in the autumn budget.
The STRB is an advisory, non-departmental public body which makes recommendations on the pay, professional duties and working time of school teachers in England and Wales.