This letter sets out the separate NEU response to the consultation on the 33rd School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) Report and the draft 2023 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). This separate NEU response should be read alongside the joint union response that is being sent to you as part of the consultation.
Overarching pay and conditions issues
The joint union response to the consultation clearly sets out the consensus in the profession on the key pay and conditions issues. Since 2010 teacher and school leader pay has been cut against inflation, the competitiveness of teacher pay has been undermined, the national pay structure has been dismantled and performance-related pay has been imposed on the profession. These pay issues have interacted with sky-high workload and excessive accountability to create a crisis in recruitment and retention, which in turn causes more damage every year it is allowed to continue.
None of these huge problems can be solved without significant additional investment in education. Such investment is critical to our economy and society. It is as much in parents’ and pupils’ interests as it is in the interests of teachers and school leaders. The Government will be held accountable for the damage its policies have caused since 2010 and for any further failure to properly invest in our education service.
The action taken by NEU members this year was critical in securing the Government’s improved pay and funding offer. We are proud of the stand our members took – voting for strike action, taking strike action and joining our biggest-ever demonstrations. But the NEU is clear, as are the unions collectively, that this year’s increase must be only the first step in repairing the damage done since 2010.
Only a properly funded across the board correction in teacher pay to reverse the real terms cuts to pay since 2010 will ensure that we recruit, retain and value teachers. The Government must invest to secure this and must reject the idea that “targeting remuneration” as the STRB terms it can solve a recruitment and retention crisis that is system-wide in its impact.