Teachers are to strike over performance-related pay, changes to their pensions and workloads on 26 March.
A new national pay framework for teachers came into effect from September 2013. This will:
- End pay increases based on length of service. Currently, virtually all full-time classroom teachers on the main pay scale automatically progress to the next pay point.
- Link all teachers’ pay progression to performance, based on annual appraisals, which is already the case for some teachers who are on a higher pay scale.
- Abolish mandatory pay points within the pay scales for classroom teachers to give schools greater freedom on how much teachers are paid. They would remain in place for reference only in the main pay scale to guide career expectations for new teachers entering the profession.
- Retain the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas.
The main changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) include:
- The normal pension age for teachers will, in future, match the state pension age.
- Teachers’ pension contributions will increase by an average of 3.2%.
- Final salary arrangements will be replaced by a career average scheme.
- The index for pensions revaluation in service will be based on the consumer prices index.
- Pension accruals at 1/57ths.
In a letter to teachers’ unions on 25 March, Michael Gove, education minister, wrote: “The reforms to teachers’ pay are about ensuring schools have the processes in place to pay the best teachers more, and we would expect schools to use the flexibilities resulting from these reforms to do that.
“[On pension changes], I know schools have made good progress in revising their pay and appraisal policies, and putting in place systems to support the reformed arrangements for teachers’ pay.
“I am happy for my officials to work with you on a joint study into the health and deployment implications of working until 68, with the aim of considering what more can be done to support teachers working to this age.”
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “Gove’s letter shows how little he listens to the concerns of teachers and how little progress has been made in the talks process. His letter confirms why we are right to strike.
“The secretary of state has attended none of the talks, nor have other ministers. The talks are with civil servants who are forbidden by Gove from straying into areas of policy. The talks are only allowed to discuss how Gove’s policies are implemented.
“Nevertheless, the NUT has participated fully in the talks because we will use any avenue to seek improvements for teachers and thereby to defend education.
“However, far from listening, Michael Gove has rejected many of the suggestions the unions have jointly put forward on pay policy implementation.
“The NUT will also participate in the discussions and study into the health and deployment implications of teachers working to 68. This, however, falls far below our demands that Gove should publish the pension valuation and then negotiate seriously.”