A coalition of teaching unions has called for an urgent review of teachers and leaders’ pay, demanding a “cost of living” pay increase for all school staff.
The National Education Union and Voice have teamed up with leadership bodies ASCL and NAHT to make a joint submission to the School Teachers Review Body, which makes recommendations to the government on teacher pay.
This year, the STRB has been given flexibility to recommend a pay rise for teachers above the one-per-cent public sector cap that has restricted increases for school staff since 2011.
However, unions are worried that even if the STRB recommends more of a rise and it’s granted by the government, schools won’t be able to afford to pay it.
“The evidence from our organisations of a growing crisis in recruiting and retaining teachers and school leaders means that the STRB must take this opportunity to fully exercise its functions as the independent pay review body for the profession,” the unions said in their submission.
“We believe that this must lead the STRB to recommend a significant increase in pay for all teachers and school leaders, irrespective of their career stage, setting or geographical location.”
Any rises must apply to all teachers and leaders, and not just be based on their “career stage, setting or geographical location”, and the unions are arguing that the current policy of differentiated pay awards “is not working and is demoralising the profession”.
It is also “vital” that any pay increases arising from the STRB’s recommendations are “fully funded by the government”.
“School budgets are at breaking point,” the statement said. “Without additional funding, paying staff fairly whilst fully funding the curriculum will be impossible.”
A Department for Education spokesperson insisted that reforms to teacher pay had given schools “greater freedom than ever before”, and that leaders were expected to “recognise and reward the best talent working in our schools”.
“We have also written to the independent School Teachers’ Review Body to say that they should take account of the government’s new more flexible approach to public sector pay.”