Commenting on the Chancellor’s intention to end the one-year pay pause in his Spending Review this week, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"This is big on promises but short on detail. Teachers, support staff and school and college leaders will not have a clear sense this week of what is in store, and there is no prospect of clarity until 2022. The Chancellor must do more than win a day's headlines. He must make good on this latest pledge to drive up pay for those who kept this country on its feet throughout the pandemic.
"This morning the NASUWT and NEU together wrote to the Education Secretary calling on the next report of the School Teachers Review Body to be truly independent. The last round was hindered when the Chancellor put out of bounds any consideration by the STRB of a pay increase, regardless of the evidence in favour of one. And that evidence is mounting. Over the past decade teacher pay has fallen in real terms, and this Government has failed utterly to stem the tide of recently qualified teachers leaving the profession in their first five years, an exodus which can only serve to damage the education system.
"There is no mention in this announcement of the £30,000 starting salaries that were also put on pause. We can see no reason for this to be delayed, and trust that Rishi Sunak will deliver it this Wednesday. Even so, we need a bigger fix if we are to truly value education and value educators. Government must deliver a vision of how to build up a new generation of education professionals, which addresses not just pay but also workload and job satisfaction. That is why it is so essential that the next review by the STRB is not prevented from reaching a full and truly independent verdict. We call on Rishi Sunak to give the STRB its head, and to follow its recommendations.
"The fear remains that this will have to be funded from existing budgets. Exhausted and undervalued teachers deserve far better than to be paid with petty cash, or worse, at the expense of other valuable services. If this week's announcement is to be taken seriously, he should confirm now that the Treasury will fund schools to meet the pay rise that the STRB recommends.
"The last time Rishi Sunak addressed public sector pay, his decisions were not equal. Key workers have worked hard throughout the pandemic but for education staff this will feel like a particularly long road to recognition. The Chancellor cannot let them down again."
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