The National Education Union has already submitted a joint statement to the STRB in partnership with ASCL, NAHT, UCAC and Voice setting out our joint position on teachers’ pay. This followed a joint letter to the then Secretary of State, Justine Greening, in November 2017 which similarly set out our concerns and our proposed solutions. Both are appended to our submission. On 13 July 2018 the National Education Union submitted a joint union letter to Damian Hinds regarding STRB pay recommendations with ASCL, NAHT, UCAC and Voice.
We consider the available evidence in more detail in order to establish the case for significantly higher pay for teachers as a necessary step in addressing the teacher supply crisis, establishing fair levels of reward for teachers and supporting the delivery of the best possible education for pupils.
In common with our sister teacher organisations, the National Education Union believes that teachers’ pay has been allowed to fall too far and must now be substantially increased across the board. Pay should be restored at least to the levels which prevailed before the misguided policies of public sector pay restraint and discretionary decision-making on pay increases and pay progression were implemented. That will establish a more secure platform for teacher supply, allowing the longer term position on teacher pay to be considered further in an atmosphere where teachers are not underpaid and pay is not actively contributing to a crisis in the profession.
The National Education Union and its co-signatories to the joint statement believe that this process must begin with a substantial increase from September 2018 which makes an immediate difference to teachers and to teacher supply and demonstrates that there is indeed a commitment to fair pay for the long term.
The National Education Union is therefore calling on the STRB to recommend that:
- teachers’ pay should be subject to a substantial immediate increase from September 2018, which begins the process of restoring pay in both real and comparative terms;
- this increase should take the form of a 5 per cent pay increase for all teachers in post, not simply an increase to all pay and allowance ranges; and
- this should be the start of a further process of restoration of teachers’ pay, at least to the real terms levels prevailing in 2010, with this increase achieved over as short a period as possible.
As noted above, we believe that this should not be an end point, but rather a starting point for a further review which determines fair and appropriate pay levels for the longer term.
We believe that differentiated awards are not in any way helpful, as recent experience has shown, and ask that the increase is uniformly applied both to all pay and allowance ranges and to all salaries in payment.
We have sought to emphasise in our campaigning work over the past year that schools are facing a funding crisis. We do not wish to see school governors forced to prioritise between spending money on teachers, support staff or pupils (although clearly expenditure on pay is itself expenditure on pupils).
We have asked the STRB to recommend that:
- the Government should provide sufficient additional funding to all schools to meet any recommended pay increase for teachers and school leaders.
However, given that the STRB has allowed itself to be constrained in recent years by the Government’s pay policy and the funding position of schools, we have to make it clear that we do not wish to see the STRB limit its recommendation on the basis of concerns over funding or affordability. The STRB should make the recommendations which it believes to be appropriate, placing the political decisions on affordability before Ministers where they properly belong. We have asked the STRB to ensure that, should it decide to limit its recommendations on the basis of any concerns over affordability, it sets out what should, in its view, be the appropriate levels of pay for teachers and school leaders in the absence of such concerns, in order to inform the political discussions which will then ensue.