LGA wants help with teachers pay

8 Feb 01
The Local Government Association has asked the Treasury to fund a £200m shortfall created by the teachers' pay increase agreed by the government last week.

09 February 2001

Education Secretary David Blunkett accepted the advice of the School Teachers Review Body, giving a 3.7% increase for all teachers, with new recruits getting a 6% rise from April. Teachers in the capital will get a 30% increase in London weighting, which Blunkett suggests will help recruitment and retention.

However, the LGA is angry that the pay deal is not fully funded. Education chair Graham Lane said: 'We welcome the new pay for teachers and increases in London allowances but we want Gordon Brown to deliver the extra cash so that school services, such as secretarial help and classroom assistants, can still be paid for.'

Despite an extra £52m cash injection from the government last week, LGA education leaders are concerned that the government does not recognise the financial pressures facing many authorities, not least in retaining teachers and recruiting new ones.

Many councils are confused about the funding. Several inner-city boroughs – including Hackney and Newham in London – failed to receive any extra finance. Large numbers of authorities are to receive up to £100,000 while others, including Durham, Birmingham and Bradford, have been awarded millions of pounds.

The government said councils would get the money under three options: to help pay for their higher education funding; in allowances from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund; and on recruitment and retention. But most authorities are unclear about whether they will be allowed to spend the money as they wish.

There was a stark contrast in Wales, where Finance Minister Edwina Hart announced a £6m boost following the pay rise. She said the money was specifically for school improvements.

Teachers in Scotland got a 10% increase last month which will see them earn 21.5% extra over the next three years, although they still lag behind English teachers in annual salary terms.

David Hart, the general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, was not impressed by the rise. He said: 'The rise of 3.7% will not stop experienced senior staff leaving the profession. The government has to take a leaf out of the Scottish book and improve the salaries and conditions of service of the profession much more dramatically.'


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