Commenting on Local pay and teacher retention in England, a report published today by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“The EPI report rightly highlights the severe teacher recruitment and retention problems, and the significant gaps between teacher pay and the pay of other graduate professions.  Changes to pay at a local level, suggested in the EPI report, will not however help with the recruitment and retention problems.  Effective action to tackle the teacher supply problems requires urgent improvements to teacher pay across education including the restoration of a national pay structure to support fairness and transparency. 

“A sticking plaster approach of recruitment and retention incentives, or other pay adjustments limited to certain groups of teachers, is no substitute for the holistic solutions we need.  The problems are system-wide and we need improvements to pay for all education staff. 

“The EPI report argues that there is too little differentiation in teacher pay, when there is in fact too much.  Further pay flexibility or regional pay would damage and not improve teacher supply.  The dismantling of the national teacher pay structure since 2010 has removed the fairness and transparency needed to attract and retain the teachers we need, so further dismantling would take us in completely the wrong direction. 

“The recruitment and retention problems are deeply rooted.  The problems extend across the country and across the curriculum.  They have not been solved by the short-term impact of the pandemic.  It is a travesty that teaching can only recruit to target when there is a national crisis such as the pandemic.  Any recent improvements will be short-lived unless there are urgent and significant improvements to teacher pay and conditions across education.  Instead, the Government plans to freeze teacher pay. On top of which, workload continues to rise – this is another key driver behind teachers leaving the profession, and in significant numbers within the first five years of starting teaching. 

“The NEU continues to press for the teacher pay levels and national pay structure that are essential if we are to tackle the recruitment and retention problems.”