Pay rises ‘paused’ for all but the lowest-paid school staff

School staff earning over £24,000-a-year won’t receive a pay rise next year, the chancellor has announced.

Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons today that pay rises for all public sector jobs except those in the NHS would be “paused” as part of the latest spending review.

The chancellor said he “cannot justify a significant across the board pay increase for all public sector workers” given the “difficult context” faced by the private sector.

However, he said those public sector workers earning less than £24,000-a-year would be guaranteed a pay rise “of at least £250”.

The spending review only covers one year, and it is not clear what the pause means for the government’s pledge to increase teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000 by 2022-23.

Teacher pay in local authority-maintained schools is set annually by the government based on recommendations from the School Teachers’ Review Body, while academies have the freedom to set their own pay and conditions.

Sunak also told MPs the government was “getting on with our three year investment plan for schools”. The schools budget will increase as planned by £2.2 billion next year. The chancellor said this was part of the government’s commitment of increasing the budget by “£7.1 billion by 2022-23”.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of leadership union ASCL, said he was “deeply disappointed that the government intends to impose a public sector pay freeze on teachers and are hugely concerned that this will damage staff retention”.

“The government asks more and more of teachers and leaders, and then effectively cuts their pay. It should not be surprised if staff decide to leave the profession.”

Paul Whiteman, leader of the NAHT union, said school leaders would be “justifiably furious” about the pay freeze.

“Undoubtedly the costs of Covid have been significant, but hard-working public sector workers, who have been on the front line of the pandemic response should not be forced to pay for the recovery out of their own pockets.”

More to follow.

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  1. Mark Watson

    It seems union leaders are as out of touch with reality as most politicians. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think teachers should be paid far more than they are now, and that they should be properly recognised and valued far higher in society. But that being said, we have to accept the reality of the situation. Covid has been unimaginably catastrophic – the worst recession in 300 years and a predicted increase of 1.3 million unemployed – and we’re probably not out of the woods yet. Is it unfair that teachers, and other public sector workers won’t get pay rises? Of course it is. But I would respectfully suggest it’s less unfair than the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve lost their jobs through absolutely no fault of their own.

    On what planet are unions leaders if they think there will be an exodus of teachers? What jobs are they going to move to? Yes I can accept that some teachers may choose to retire earlier than they might have done otherwise, but the mere presence of Covid would undoubtedly have meant that. But for younger teachers, whilst they will understandably feel unhappy about not having a pay rise, they will have to take a look at the state of the private sector and balance that against the (relatively) high job security that they have.

    And if you were a teenager considering what career to go into I would think that teaching, with its high chance of getting and keeping a job, has suddenly become a considerably more attractive option.