Commenting on the Government’s announcement of a raise in starting salaries for teachers, to £30,000 by 2022/23, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The proposed increase to teachers’ starting salaries is absolutely necessary if the government is going to get enough graduates wanting to become teachers, but it may not be sufficient.
“Teacher training targets have been missed for six years in a row, and this announcement may go some way to making teaching more attractive.
“However even these pay rises will only return starter teachers’ pay to where it was in 2010 in real terms, with all other teachers below those levels.
“Properly funding these increases and returning all teachers to at least 2010 levels is vital. This funding will have to be in addition to that announced last week; that £14bn was a step towards reinstating school funding cuts - but it can't be used both for restitution of cuts and pay.
“The Government must also realise that it will be unable to guarantee these pay levels – and therefore unable to use them in advertising campaigns – unless it requires academies and free schools to pay them.
“The Government must now belatedly realise that the free-for-all on teacher pay that it introduced has not worked.
“Schools need experienced as well as beginner teachers.
“England has one of the worst teacher retention rates in the OECD with almost half of teachers leaving within 10 years, taking with them vast amounts of knowledge and experience.
“The proposal to introduce progression points looks like an admission that another part of the teachers' pay 'free for all' has not worked. The NEU wants the government to go further and to reinstate statutory progression pay points, in negotiation with teacher unions, so that the pay system is transparent, open and fair and so that proper incentives are put in place for experienced teachers to stay in teaching.
“Equally important to stopping the recruitment and retention crisis is teacher workload. Teachers in England work the second longest hours, behind Japan, in the OECD. Unless teachers’ working hours are substantially reduced, they will continue to find their hourly rate of pay too low to attract them to, or keep them in, the profession.”