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New Pay Offer Presented to Education Unions: Sector Response

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After days of intensive negotiation, the education unions ASCL, NAHT, NASUWT and NEU have been presented with a pay offer by the education Secretary.

This amounts to a £1000 one-off cash payment for the present school year (2022/23) and a 4.3% consolidated pay rise for most teachers for next year (2023/24). The Government claims this is fully funded but NEU analysis suggests that between 2 in 5 (42%) and 3 in 5 (58%) of schools would have to make cuts next year to afford it.

Sector Response

A Department for Education spokesperson said: 

“The Government and the education unions – NAHT, ASCL, NEU and NASUWT – have engaged in intensive discussions over the last 10 days.

“The Government has put forward a fair and reasonable offer, backed with funding for schools. The offer provides an average 4.5% pay rise for next year, puts £1000 into the pockets of teachers as a one-off payment for this year, and commits to reducing workload by five hours each week. 

“This is a good deal for teachers that acknowledges their hard work and dedication.”

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, said:

“This is an insulting offer from a Government which simply does not value teachers.

“This offer is less than teachers in Scotland and Wales have been offered. It does nothing to address the long-term decline in teacher pay and therefore does nothing to solve the problems in teacher recruitment and retention. Each year the Government’s own teacher training targets are routinely missed and a third of teachers leave within five years of qualifying. 13% of those who qualified in 2019 have quit. The Government seems content for this to continue.

“Not only is the offer on pay entirely out of step with the rest of the UK, it is also not fully funded. NEU analysis shows that between 2 in 5 (42%) and 3 in 5 (58%) of schools would have to make cuts to afford staff pay rises. Schools will continue to be stretched financially, and it is students who will suffer. Staffing and services will be squeezed in order to comply. This is not a sustainable situation and we stated so throughout our campaign and during negotiations. 

“It is now crystal clear that we have an Education Secretary and a Government that is ignoring the crisis in our schools and colleges. By refusing to address the legitimate and reasonable request to bring to an end more than a decade of below-inflation unfunded teacher pay increases, the Government is driving teaching and recruitment retention in schools in England to breaking point.

“No child benefits from this level of underfunding. Investing in the education of this generation of children and young people, those hit so hard by Covid, is essential to economic recovery. To sit by and allow so many talented teachers to leave for reasons which are entirely fixable, should be a point of shame for this Government.

“The NEU is determined that this does not stop here and following the results of the ballot on the current pay offer we will be considering our next steps in our campaign to stand up for the education of children and the teaching profession.”  

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We have met with our executive committee of senior elected members this afternoon to discuss an offer from the government over pay and conditions which follows talks that have taken place with ASCL and other education unions during the past two weeks.

“We will tomorrow circulate full details to our members and ask them for their feedback over the next few days as to whether we should accept or decline the offer. This is a matter of great importance to leaders, teachers and parents and we are ensuring that our response is fully considered and representative of our members in schools across the country.

“We are not commenting on the detail of the offer at this point in time.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“Formal talks between education unions and the government have now concluded, and an offer has been made. All the unions involved in the talks have received the same offer.

“NAHT’s national executive committee will be considering the details of this offer this evening. They will then decide on our next steps.

“We will be making no further comment this evening but will issue a further statement tomorrow.”

4.5% is the average pay offer across all teachers, but every experienced teacher – M6 and above, including all on leadership spine – will get 4.3%. When inflation is projected to be 8.1%, that’s another 3.8% real-terms pay cut, leaving many teachers still struggling to make ends meet.

Between 2 in 5 (42%) and 3 in 5 (58%) of schools would have to make cuts next year to afford the pay increase. The Government have said they are only prepared to fund 0.5% of the teachers’ pay offer which averages at 4.5%. The NEU projects that this will push school costs to 5.7% for 2023-24 if energy prices are high and 5.1% if schools do not face energy prices rises.

Background from DfE

We have listened to teachers and school leaders and have put forward a fair and reasonable offer which takes into account both the hard work and commitment of teachers and the economic challenges facing the country.  

The offer consists of a significant one-off payment of £1000 for the current academic year (2022-23), equating to a further 2.4% average pay rise. The increase means the average teacher will receive a pay rise of 7.8% for the current year, rising to up to 12.8% for new teachers.

The one-off payment would be funded in full through £530 million of new investment for schools.

It comes on top of the 5.4% average pay rise teachers have already received in 2022/23 based on the recommendation from the pay review body, which was the highest pay award in a generation. The average salary for a classroom teacher is currently £39,500, a figure which would rise under this deal.

The deal includes a consolidated pay uplift of 4.5% for 2023/2024, with the starting salary for new teachers rising 7.1% to £30,000, in line with the Government’s manifesto commitment. This is above forecast for average earnings across the economy. 

A number of non-pay measures in the deal would also reduce workload for teachers and respond to a number of longstanding demands around bureaucracy.

Last week, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) – an independent educational research organisation – recommended that “the 2023 teacher pay award should exceed 4.1 per cent – the latest forecast of the rise in average UK earnings next year – to narrow the gap between teacher pay and the wider labour market, and improve recruitment and retention.

This follows the additional £2 billion the government invested in the schools budget for both next year and the year after, taking the total schools’ budget to £58.8 billion. 

School leaders’ union to ballot members over ‘inadequate’ pay offer from government

Following the meeting of NAHT’s National Executive Committee yesterday evening, the union has today written to all members setting out the offer that all the education unions received from the government.

NAHT will be asking its members whether to accept or reject the offer. It will also ask if they would be prepared to vote in favour of industrial action if the offer is rejected.

Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, said: “Having consulted with our national executive committee members, we do not believe that this offer addresses the pay erosion the teaching profession has seen for more than a decade. Nor does it address the crushing weight of unreasonable accountability or workload. As such, the offer fails to address the recruitment and retention crisis that is damaging the quality of the education for children and young people.”

Further more, NAHT’s national executive committee does not believe that sufficient funding is being made available to meet even this inadequate offer. The government is proposing to fund the non-consolidated £1,000 payment for 2022/23, but only 0.5% of the overall 4.5% pay award for 2023/24, leaving schools to find the remaining 4% from existing budgets.

Mr Whiteman continued: “Creating a situation where school leaders must make cuts to afford a pay deal that the government says is designed to make teaching a more attractive profession would be perverse. We will be asking members to confirm or correct our early analysis that this pay offer cannot be afforded from existing school budgets.

“This offer takes us to a crossroads. NAHT is putting this offer to its members to consider because despite the obvious crisis in education, as well as all the campaigning on this issue, the offer is apparently the limit of the government’s ambition. It is the best that the government is prepared to make. If members reject the offer, it is clear that industrial action by NAHT members will be necessary.”

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