Teacher pay: 1 per cent rise will cost schools £250m, warns government

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An increase in teachers’ pay of just 1 per cent would cost schools an additional £250 million next year, the government has warned.

Justine Greening, the education secretary, said earlier this year that there was a “strong case” for a continued 1 per cent cap on teacher pay rises in 2017-18. The same rise was applied in 2014, 2015 and this year.

Teaching unions and the STRB itself have warned in recent months that a larger increase is needed to keep teachers in a profession which is already struggling to recruit and retain staff.

However the government has said in evidence to the body that even the lowest rise would see schools paying out millions without additional funding.

Read more: Pay scales for teachers and leaders in England and Wales from September 2016
Read more: Pay scales for teachers and leaders in England and Wales from September 2016

According to the government, this year’s teacher pay bill for England and Wales is about £24.8 million.

A 1 per cent uplift awarded to all salaries and relevant allowances in 2017-18 would cost an additional £250 million, but a projected 0.6 per cent increase in the workforce size over the next year will take the real increase to about £505 million.

“Schools would need to meet this cost from within their existing budgets,” the government said in its evidence.

“If the recommendations of the STRB proposed a larger pay award to some teachers than to others, this may result in some schools seeing disproportionate increases in their staffing budgets.

“This would have the potential to create a risk to their financial security.”

Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, warned that teachers’ pay was being outstripped by “inflation and pay rises in the private sector”.

“Whatever the STRB recommends, the government must ensure that schools are fully funded to implement the uplift so that schools do not risk losing valuable teachers and support staff from their workforce,” she said.

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  1. Public sector pay has been significantly lower than the inflation rate since 2010. Are we really saying that teachers and other public sector workers should continue to accept real terms pay cuts?

    • There is no such thing as ‘the’ inflation rate. For purely political reasons the government tends to use CPI rather than RPI as it’s main measure which has been at less than 1% continuously since Nov 2014 and for a brief spell late 2015 we actually had negative CPI.

      There are still a number of valid reasons to argue for an increase in teachers (and support staff) pay rates but using flawed arguments helps nobody as the majority of unions have found over recent years

      • John Smith

        Since when did any Tory government listen to argument when it comes to paying teachers properly? These people couldn’t care less.

        And it doesn’t cost schools; it ‘costs’ the taxpayer. Salaries to a business are a cost to the business; schools aren’t businesses (yet).

        If salaries are anything, they are a reward for public service.