Teaching unions express their anger after Tories fail to lift pay cap

TeacherTeaching unions have expressed their anger at the continuing pay cap for teachers, saying it represents a seventh year of a real terms pay cut.

The Department for Education today announced a 1% pay rise for teachers, despite senior Tories talking about lifting the public sector pay cap.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “The situation on teachers’ pay, after year on year cuts, is now so dire that even though the Review Body was forced to conduct its deliberations under unacceptable pressure from the DfE and the Treasury to maintain the pay cap, it has not been deterred from doing what it can, and has broken through the cap, at least for some of the lowest paid teachers, awarding them 2%. For that it should be congratulated.

“The Review Body clearly continues to be deeply concerned and, while maintaining the 1% cap for other teachers, once again it has warned the Government that new and more experienced teachers continue to be paid less than other graduate professions making it difficult to recruit and retain high quality graduates as teachers.

“Everyone except the government appears to accept that there is a crisis in teacher supply. A crisis which will continue to deepen while the pay cap and cuts continue, while schools use the excessive freedoms and flexibilities, given to them by the government, to deny teachers even 1% and while teachers are crushed by excessive workload.

“It is disgraceful that, despite all the evidence of the detriment teachers, delivering one of the most vital of our public services, are suffering, the government determines to maintain the pay cap.”

NUT general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “This is a missed opportunity which the government will come to regret as the teacher recruitment and retention crisis gets worse.

‘Teachers’ pay increases have fallen behind inflation by 13% since 2010 while this public sector pay policy has been applied. This latest pay announcement will mean that figure increases to over 15%. The pay being offered to newly qualified teachers would be over £3,500 higher if the pay cap had never been applied and schools would have far fewer difficulties in recruiting new graduates.

‘The government’s attack on national pay scales and its pursuit of performance related pay at a time of funding cuts in schools has meant that teachers are increasingly unlikely to get pay progression either. The result is that the government’s own figures show that average pay for classroom teachers has only gone up by £300 – less than 1% – since 2010.

‘The government announcement does however allow a 2% increase for all teachers on the Main pay scale, not just newly qualified teachers, and the NUT will be pressing the government to ensure that this happens.

‘The School Teachers’ Review Body has told the government that teachers continue to be paid less than other graduate professionals throughout their careers and that the pressures faced by schools in attracting high quality teachers have not reduced. It has also said that there needs to be a longer-term investment in an effective teaching workforce. This clearly supports the NUT’s argument that the government needs to invest in more and better paid school staff.”

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “Holding teachers’ pay rise at 1% for the fifth year in a row will make it even harder to recruit and retain teachers. Adding inadequate pay to the toxic mix of stress and overwork is likely to lead to even more teachers quitting. Even before this announcement over 50,000 teachers left teaching in the past year.

“It is hard enough for head teachers to fill their vacancies as it is and are increasingly having to ask teachers to teach outside their subject specialism. This is unfair to teachers and to their pupils.

“The government’s decision to stick with austerity pay, despite its consequences for children and the warnings of the teachers’ review body, send the wrong signal to exhausted school staff, and to pupils and their parents.

“It is disingenuous of the government to say schools can pay some teachers more when school budgets are already squeezed so hard schools are having to make staff redundant. Without more funding this is just a nonsense.”

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