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Unions urge review body to ignore government’s suggested pay cap for teachers

Organisations representing the overwhelming majority of teachers and school leaders in England have written to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) urging it to ignore pressure from the government to cap the teachers’ pay award at 2%. The unions are calling on the STRB to recommend a fully-funded 5% pay increase in September 2019.

NEU, NAHT, ASCL and Voice have already submitted a statement to the STRB with their joint evidence calling for 5%, but today issued a supplementary statement following a submission from the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds suggesting a 2% pay cap paid from school budgets. School funding has been cut in real terms and schools cannot afford more unfunded costs.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The evidence shows that teacher recruitment and retention is in a critical state. Instead of proposing another real-terms pay cut, the Government must act urgently to increase pay for all teachers by 5 per cent as a starting point, fully funding this increase.”

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Following years of caps damaging to public sector pay, it is disgraceful for the government to suggest another one, this time of 2%. Further depressions to pay will undermine the success of the government’s own recruitment and retention strategy. The teacher supply pipeline is leaking at both ends, with too few new applicants and too many experienced professionals leaving prematurely. A fully funded 5% increase for all teachers and leaders is vital if we are to plug the leaky pipeline of teacher recruitment and retention in England.”

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The evidence is clear that teachers and leaders deserve a decent pay award which is fully funded by the government, addresses the erosion in the real value of pay and tackles the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. The government’s paltry suggestion of a 2% pay cap is an insult and its suggestion that schools should foot the bill is completely unrealistic given the totally inadequate level of school funding.”

Voice General Secretary Deborah Lawson said: “The Government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy will only succeed if its aspirations are accompanied and complemented by a fully funded pay increase. To do otherwise is to risk failure when there is a teacher recruitment and retention and school funding crisis. We urge the STRB to consider the evidence presented and recommend a fully funded pay raise of 5%.”

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