Education unions respond to Welsh Government’s pay rise for teachers

Education unions have responded to yesterday’s proposals by the Welsh Government to give teachers a 3.1% overall pay rise

The proposals would see:

  • starting salaries for new teachers increased by 8.48%.
  • a 3.1% overall increase for the teachers’ pay bill in Wales
  • a 3.75% pay rise for teachers on the Main Pay Scale
  • an end to performance-related pay progression
  • the reintroduction of national pay scales.

UCAC general secretary Dilwyn Roberts-Young said: “We are delighted to see the re-introduction of national pay scales – and the removal of performance-related pay arrangements. UCAC has been campaigning for these two improvements which will make a real difference to teachers’ pay arrangements across Wales.

“We also welcome the pay rises that go beyond those recommended by the Independent Welsh Pay Review Body. We hope that these changes will help to attract people into the profession, at a time when new recruits are badly needed.

“However, we are disappointed that the pay rise for school leaders is lower than for the rest of the profession. School leaders have extremely high levels of responsibility, managing complex organisations in difficult and often unpredictable circumstances. The reduction in the differential between teacher salaries and leaders’ salaries is likely to be detrimental to the drive to encourage teachers to follow a path into leadership.

“UCAC will now respond to the report and the Minister’s announcement. We will urge the Welsh Government to ensure that any pay increases are fully funded to avoid putting additional pressure on school budgets.

“The past few months have been extraordinary in so many ways. Teachers and school leaders have dedicated themselves to adapting teaching methods and to ensuring care and wellbeing in the most challenging of circumstances. We are pleased that these efforts have been recognised.”

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roache said: “Over the last few months, parents and the public have thanked teachers for the tremendous contribution they have made in supporting children’s learning during the Coronavirus crisis. It is therefore right that the Government should recognise, value and reward the work of all teachers too.

“Teachers across Wales have continued to work tirelessly in the interests of all pupils and they deserve a pay award that reflects their vital contribution to securing better life chances for all children and young people. Whilst the Education Minister’s ambition to make teaching the profession of first choice for graduates is laudable, the proposed pay award still falls short of what is needed to redress the year on year real-terms decline in teachers’ pay since 2010.

“The Welsh Government must now demonstrate its commitment to valuing teachers by ensuring that the pay award is fully funded and guaranteed. The NASUWT will be pressing for a clear guarantee from the Welsh Government on the teachers’ pay award, pay progression entitlements and job security.”

NEU Wales secretary David Evans said: “The Welsh Government’s proposals to increase the starting salary by 8.84% is welcome for those starting out in teaching and should make the profession more attractive to graduates. Bringing an end to performance-related pay progression and re-introducing progression based on experience, together with the re-introduction of national pay scales will be greatly welcomed by the profession.

“These are some of the things submitted in our evidence to the IWPRB as part of our proposals on teachers’ pay back in April. Valuing classroom teaching is important and will be vital as education professionals in Wales prepare for the introduction of the new Curriculum in 2022.

“But the prospect of salaries tapering off as they progress through the profession means that progress made in recruiting teachers might not be sustained in retaining them. More experienced teachers and leaders must see their immense hard work and efforts rewarded fairly, and this pay award does not do that.

“It is already the case that many teachers leave teaching within two years. This is an unnecessary waste which impacts most directly on disadvantaged children who most need teachers. We will not begin to close the attainment gap until we keep teachers in the profession. So, rewarding people as they gain experience is key.

“We look forward to looking at the report in greater detail and responding to the consultation. In our evidence to the IWPRB, NEU Cymru asked for a 7% pay award for all teachers, and sadly this does not fully do that. We will continue to argue for this.”

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