Teacher pay 2019-20: What do schools need to know?

school funding

The government has confirmed teacher pay arrangements from September, but schools face having to fund most of the pay rise from existing budgets.

Here is what schools need to know.


1. Who gets what rise?

Unlike last year, when the government ignored STRB calls for a 3.5 per cent rise across the board and handed it only to early career teachers, ministers have this year accepted the STRB’s recommendations in full.

It means that the minimum and maximum salaries in each pay grade will increase by 2.75 per cent.

The rise applies to all ranges – unqualified, main, upper and leadership.


2. How do the pay rises work?

Today’s announcement doesn’t mean that every teacher in England automatically gets a 2.75 per cent pay rise, because it is still up to schools to determine what they pay their teachers.

What it does mean is that the top and bottom end of each teacher pay range will increase by the relevant amount, meaning those on the highest and lowest salary in each band will get an automatic rise.

However, the teacher pay scales, which will be confirmed by the government later in the summer, only apply to local authority-maintained schools. Academies can set their own pay scales.


3. Will the rise be enough to tackle recruitment and retention?

Not as far as the STRB is concerned. Its report includes a number of stark warnings about the ever-growing crisis in teacher supply, and concludes its recommendations are only “a step towards improving the position of the teachers’ pay framework in the wider labour market”.

In short, teaching will continue to struggle to attract enough workers if they are likely to earn more elsewhere.

The STRB has also warned of “a number of structural issues with the current pay framework” which need to be addressed, and says it wants to sit down with Damian Hinds to discuss them.

“Failing to prioritise teacher supply through an investment in pay may lead to financial savings in the short term, but these are likely to be outweighed by additional costs and reduced productivity across the education system in the longer term,” the report warned.


4. What about teaching assistants?

TA pay is set locally, often based on local government pay scales, so is not affected by today’s announcements.


5. Will schools have to pay for the rise?

Some of it. Schools will have to pay for the first two percentage points of the announced today, and the government claims they will already have budgeted for this because it’s what they said would be “affordable” in their STRB submission.

This means schools will have to find the estimated £280 million cost of the 2 per cent rise themselves.

Beyond the 2 per cent though, there is going to be money available for 2019-20 – £105 million to be precise. Further funding decisions will depend on the next spending review, whenever that is.


6. Where has this cash come from?

Existing DfE budgets, because the Treasury is currently hoarding every penny it can for Brexit contingency planning and the next spending review.

The DfE told Schools Week the money would be found through “re-prioritisation” of existing funding. Translation: It’s coming from all over the place.

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  1. Cathryn Downing

    Whilst this teachers pay increase is welcomed by all staff, the erosion of the pension scheme has also had a huge effect on the numbers of young graduates entering the profession.

  2. Donna Jagger

    It is not the pay that is responsible for poor retention, it is the frustration at the lack of external professionals and resources, such as Educational Psychologists, so that schools can get the help they need to support children effectively. Cut backs have seriously hampered our ability to give all children what they need and deserve. Issues such as not being able to afford teaching assistants also adds to the stress and workload. It is this that needs to be tackled. Extra pay is not a magic wand!