Teacher pay deal 'the worst of all worlds', say heads

Schools face having to cut their budgets in order to afford next year’s teacher pay settlement, headteachers have warned.

Leadership unions ASCL and NAHT have both condemned the government’s announcement of a 2.75 per cent increase in pay for teachers and leaders.

Leaders will have to cut elsewhere in their budgets in order to find the money needed to fund even this moderate rise

Heads say the rise isn’t enough, and that a decision not to fully-fund it will leave schools facing further cuts.

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, announced today that he has accepted the recommendation from the School Teachers Review Body of a 2.75 per cent increase across all teacher pay ranges.

However, the government will only provide funding for a 0.75 per cent rise, meaning the other 2 per cent will have to come from schools.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL, said it was “inevitable that this will result in more cutbacks”, while Paul Whiteman, leader of the NAHT, said there was “nothing generous about this announcement, despite what the government says”.

“The government has managed to achieve the worst of all worlds by announcing a derisory pay settlement for teachers which schools cannot afford to deliver,” said Barton. Unions had called for a 5 per cent rise.

“The much-trailed award of 2.75 per cent is well below what is needed to make up for years of erosion in the real value of pay, or to improve teacher recruitment and retention at a time of severe shortages.

“Worse still, our reading of the government’s statement is that the first 2 per cent of the award will have to come from existing school budgets which are already under intense pressure and cannot sustain more unfunded costs.”

Whiteman said: “We have consistently called for a fully funded 5 per cent increase for all teachers and leaders. This announcement of 2.75 per cent falls some way short of that, which is disappointing.

“The government is only funding 0.75 per cent of the award, deeming the remaining 2 per cent ‘affordable’. Unfortunately, leaders will have to cut elsewhere in their budgets in order to find the money needed to fund even this moderate rise.”

Hinds said today’s announcement “means that teachers and heads can receive a pay rise above current rates of inflation and have more money in their pockets”.

“If we want the best people working in our classrooms then it’s right that we ensure their salaries recognise the vital nature of their work and the potentially life changing impact they can have on the lives of our children.”