We are repeating the call from ASCL,NAHT NASUWT and the NEU for the leaked STRB report to be published and for negotiations on the dispute over teacher and leader pay and the funding of pay awards to re-commence immediately.
Should this letter be ignored, and negotiations are not in place by the 17 June the NEU National Executive will be discussing our next steps. This will include the consideration of NEU teacher members in England taking further strike action in the week beginning 3 July.
The NEU alongside ASCL, NAHT and NASUWT are all balloting members for strike action in the autumn term. The Education Secretary needs to be clear that burying her head in the sand will not work. The unions have previously announced their intention to co-ordinate industrial action going forward. If action was to be taken this would affect nearly every school in England.
Full text of letter:
9 June 2023
Dear Secretary of State
Two and a half weeks ago, we wrote to you jointly with leaders of our sister unions, asking you to publish the report of the School Teacher Review Body (STRB), following a leak to a national newspaper. We also urged you to re-enter talks with the unions on pay and the funding of pay awards.
We have yet to receive a response.
There are six school term weeks until the summer holiday. Up and down the country, head teachers are trying to plan their school budgets for next year and trying to cope with the rapidly growing problem of recruiting enough teachers to fill their classrooms.
By not publishing the STRB report, your department is withholding vital information about what proposals that body has made on teacher pay, which may or may not help with the recruitment difficulties. It is also withholding vital information about the funding of pay rises. Fully funding pay rises, as you know, is essential given that school budgets are already stretched beyond reasonable limits.
On Monday, 5 June, in response to a Parliamentary Question from shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson about when the Government would publish the STRB report, your schools minister Nick Gibb said: “The Department is considering the recommendations and will publish its response in the usual way, in due course.”
Last year, as in previous years, your department did not publish the STRB report until late in July – after some schools had already broken up for the summer.
We consider this delay in giving vital information to headteachers to be disrespectful in the extreme. And we consider your failure to engage with the unions to discuss this year’s pay, the STRB report, workload and funding to be inexplicable.
The failure to publish the STRB report also raises suspicions that the Government is planning not to implement the recommendations of the independent review body.
We are calling on you to publish the STRB report without further delay, and to meet us next week in an effort to resolve the dispute and help to solve the problems facing our children’s schools.
If you refuse to do this, next steps – including the option of our teacher members in England taking further strike action in the week beginning 3 July – will be considered by the NEU national executive at its meeting on 17 June.
Mary Bousted Kevin Courtney
Joint General Secretary Joint General Secretary