The government has abandoned its pledge to raise teacher starting salaries to £30,000 by 2022-23, saying the target will now be reached by 2024 instead.
The Treasury initially confirmed yesterday that it still planned to deliver the commitment made in the Conservatives’ election manifesto last year, despite enacting a pay freeze for teachers in the next financial year.
However, they have now clarified that the deadline for the policy to come into effect has been pushed back to 2024, when the current Parliament is due to come to an end.
In order to meet the new deadline, the government would have to raise starting salaries to £30,000 from September 2023, a year later than they would have done under the old policy.
Unions reacted with fury yesterday after chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that public sector staff earning over £24,000 will receive no pay rise in 2021-22.
The announcement also prompted confusion about the £30,000 starting salaries pledge, which was previously going to be achieved incrementally over three years.
The first incremental shift – a 5.5 per cent rise in the minimum point of the main pay range – came into force this September, taking the starting salary outside London to £25,714.
Had the old target of 2022-23 remained in place, the starting salary would have had to be increased by over 16 per cent in just one year.
It is not known whether the government will still try to reach the £30,000 target incrementally after giving itself an extra year to reach it.
The pushing back of the deadline also means it falls outside the government’s current three-year spending plan for schools.
Sunak confirmed yesterday that the government remains committed to its pledge to raise the schools budget by £7.1 billion by 2022-23. But no plans have been announced to increase funding again in 2023-24.