School teachers across England and Wales are to receive a pay rise of up to 2% from September 2017.
The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which examines and reports to the government on matters relating to the statutory employment conditions of school teachers, has recommended a 2% pay increase to the minimum and maximum of the main pay range in its Twenty-seventh report: 2017.
The report has also recommended a 1% pay increase to the minimum and maximum of the upper pay range, the unqualified teacher pay range and the leading practitioner pay range.
A 1% uplift in pay has also been recommended to be applied to the minimum and maximum of the leadership group pay range, all head teacher group pay ranges, and the Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) and Special Education Needs (SEN) allowance ranges.
The recommended changes could see classroom teachers across England and Wales, excluding London, who are within the main pay range earn between £22,917 and £33,824 a year, compared to current salaries of between £22,467 and £33,160. Classroom teachers in the main pay range who work in inner London could see their pay increased to between £28,660 and £39,006 a year from September 2017, compared to £28,098 and £38,241 currently.
When formulating its recommendations, the STRB took into account the government’s public sector pay policy, affordability at a national level as well as for individual schools, the national state of teacher and school leader supply, the labour market in England and Wales, changes in pupil population along with the impact this has on the demand for teachers, and the government’s commitment to increase autonomy for schools on pay matters.
In the report, Dr Patricia Rice, chair of the STRB, said: “Future economic uncertainty means that it is difficult to make confident predictions about the labour market in the future. However, we consider it likely that further uplifts of more than 1% will be required to elements of the pay framework in the coming years to continue to enhance the status of the teaching profession and make pay more competitive for teachers at all stages of their careers. The Department [of Education] and other consultees should, therefore, continue to help school leaders and governing bodies in the effective management of pay within their budgets.”
A spokesperson at the Department of Education added: “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. This deal also allows headteachers to give some teachers up to a 2% pay uplift, alongside generous training bursaries and competitive starting salaries”
Kevin Courtney, general secretary at the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “This is a missed opportunity which the government will come to regret as the teacher recruitment and retention crisis gets worse.
“Teachers’ pay increases have fallen behind inflation by 13% since 2010 while this public sector pay policy has been applied. This latest pay announcement will mean that figure increases to over 15%. The pay being offered to newly qualified teachers would be over £3,500 higher if the pay cap had never been applied and schools would have far fewer difficulties in recruiting new graduates.
“The government’s attack on national pay scales and its pursuit of performance-related pay at a time of funding cuts in schools has meant that teachers are increasingly unlikely to get pay progression either. The result is that the government’s own figures show that average pay for classroom teachers has only gone up by £300, less than 1%, since 2010.
“The government announcement does, however, allow a 2% increase for all teachers on the main pay scale, not just newly qualified teachers, and the NUT will be pressing the government to ensure that this happens.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders, added: “These pay awards have been, once again, kept within the government’s self-imposed 1% pay cap. This means teachers are facing a seventh year of real-term pay cuts at a time when we are in a full-blown recruitment crisis. The STRB acknowledges that there is ‘a real risk that schools will not be able to recruit and retain a workforce of high-quality teachers to support pupil achievement’. Furthermore, schools are expected to fund these awards without any additional funding from the government, and this comes at a time when budgets are under severe strain because of real-terms reductions.
“The current situation is unsustainable and the government is playing fast and loose with children’s education. We call on ministers to invest more in the education of our pupils, and thereby our future prosperity, by ensuring that pay awards are fully funded and help address the issue of teacher shortages.”