Teachers face 1% pay cap for another year

11 Jul 17

Teachers across England and Wales face a seventh consecutive year of a 1% pay increase based on the recommendation of a review body’s analysis of earnings.

The School Teachers’ Review Body published its 27th report into teachers’ pay yesterday, which called on the government to increase pay by 1%, in line with austerity policy.

Although, the report recognised that low pay was making it difficult for schools to recruit and retain good teachers, with teacher training targets being missed and more qualified teachers leaving the profession for reasons other than retirement.

It stated: “The cumulative impact of these factors creates a real risk that schools will not be able to recruit and retain a workforce of high quality teachers to support pupil achievement.

“We are particularly concerned about this because demographic trends indicate rising pupil numbers and therefore rising demand for teachers in the coming years.”

Yesterday’s pay increase announcement falls below recent figures for inflation, which now stands at 2.9%, meaning teachers are facing a real-terms cut in their earnings.

The report also recommended a 2% uplift to the main pay range but this will only affect a small portion of teachers at the bottom of the main pay scale.

It concluded that the government should take action to make the teachers’ pay framework “more competitive” as other graduate jobs often pay better.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, labelled the pay rise “disappointing”, adding: “This means teachers are facing a seventh year of real-terms pay cuts at a time when we are in a full-blown recruitment crisis”.

Barton said the current system was “unsustainable” and urged the government to invest in schools instead of “playing fast and loose with children’s education”.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, echoed this sentiment as he said the pay review was a “missed opportunity” which the government will come to “regret” if the recruitment problems in the sector worsen.

He noted that government policy since 2010 has resulted in teachers being hit with a 13% real-terms reduction in pay, which will increase to 15% courtesy of yesterday’s decision to up pay by just 1%.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said: "We recognise and value the hard work of teachers, which is why we have accepted the pay deal proposed by the independent School Teachers' Review Body, in line with the 1% public sector pay policy.

"This will ensure we continue to strike the balance between being fair to public sector workers and fair to taxpayers."

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