From education to employment

Government delivers landmark rises to teachers’ salaries

Teacher in front of blackboard

Teachers across the country will benefit from pay increases of between 5% and 8.9% from September, as yesterday (Tuesday 19 July), the government has fully accepted pay recommendations from the independent School Teachers’ Review Body for the next academic year.

The starting salary for teachers outside London will rise by 8.9%, with salaries reaching £28,000 in the 2022/23 academic year. This means that the Government is making good progress towards meeting its manifesto commitment for new teacher pay to rise to £30,000 and from September a new teacher will receive over £2,000 more than this year.

The competitive new starting salary will help attract top quality talent and further raise the status of the teaching profession.

Those in the early stages of their careers will also benefit from significant increases, ranging from 5% to 8% depending on experience.

Pay for experienced teachers who have been in the profession for more than five years will rise by 5% in the next academic year – an increase on the Government’s initial proposal of 3%, in recognition of the broader economic context and the STRB’s recommendations.

The rise is equivalent to an increase of almost £2,100 on the average salary of £42,400 this year.

Education Secretary James Cleverly said:

“Teachers are the fabric of our school system and it is their dedication and skill that ensures young people can leave school with the knowledge and opportunities they need to get on in life.

“We are delivering significant pay increases for all teachers despite the present economic challenges, pushing teacher starting salaries up towards the £30,000 milestone and giving experienced teachers the biggest pay rise in a generation. This will attract even more top-quality talent to inspire children and young people and reward teachers for their hard work.”

Today’s pay award – alongside the suite of high quality, free to access training courses available to teachers – is part of the Government’s drive to make sure there is an excellent teacher in every classroom across the country, helping ensure that wherever a child lives they have the quality of education and the opportunities they deserve.

The government is targeting early career teacher pay with the highest percentage uplifts as this is where salaries can most effectively support recruitment and retention. Those in the first five years of their careers will see pay rises of between 5% and 8.9%, supporting teachers on the lowest incomes where the cost of living pressures are felt most.

Pay awards this year strike a careful balance between recognising the vital importance of public sector workers, whilst delivering value for the taxpayer and managing the broader economic context. The 5% pay rise for experienced teachers is intended as a responsible solution to both supporting teachers with the cost of living and the sound management of schools’ budgets. By contrast, double digit pay awards for public sector workers would lead to sustained higher levels of inflation. This would have a far bigger impact on people’s real incomes in the long run than the proportionate and balanced pay increases recommended by the independent Pay Review Bodies now.

The Government has decided it is appropriate to confirm teachers’ salaries for the next academic year only, rather than the two years initially proposed, and return to the usual timeframe for the pay setting process for 2023/24.

Academies, as usual, have the freedom to set their own pay policies.

The pay uplifts come alongside provisional school funding figures released today for the 2023/24 financial year, in which the core schools budget is set to receive a £1.5 billion boost. This extra money builds on this year’s increase of £4 billion, which schools are already benefitting from. It means that in the 2023-24 financial year, primary school pupils will attract £5,023 on average  and secondary school pupils will attract £6,473 on average.

Taken together with the funding increases seen this year, funding through the schools NFF will be 7.9% higher per pupil in 2023-24, compared to 2021-22.

However, with today’s (Wednesday) inflation figures, CPI inflation is shown to be rising to a 40-year high of 9.4% in June. With this news coming out today, is the pay rise enough to help teacher’s survive the cost of living crisis?

Sector Response

NFER School Workforce Lead, Jack Worth, said:

“We welcome the Pay Review Body’s recommendation for teacher pay to increase by more than the Government initially proposed in March, especially for experienced teachers, and for the Government to accept the recommendation. Our analysis back in June, which we partnered with the Gatsby Foundation for, showed that the Government’s original proposals were insufficient to tackle the growing teacher recruitment and retention challenges, especially in STEM subjects, and recommended that the Government revise its pay award.

“However, we are disappointed that the Government has not provided any new funding to cover the additional pay increase. Underfunded teacher pay rises could have costly impacts, such as staff redundancies and reduced resources for other provision, which will be detrimental to pupils’ learning. The Department for Education should urgently be working with the Treasury to get additional funding for schools in the Autumn budget.” 

James Zuccollo, Director for School Workforce at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said: 

“In recent years, teachers’ pay has suffered due to low wage growth comparative to the rest of the economy. Unsurprisingly, this year’s teacher pay award, an up to 8.9% increase in pay for teachers beginning their careers and a 5% increase for experienced teachers, will not reverse this decade-long decline in real terms pay. This decline has negatively impacted important efforts to enhance recruitment and retention within
the profession. 

“It’s clear, however, that younger teachers’ pay has suffered to a greater extent than that of more experienced teachers. Over the last decade, younger teachers’ pay penalty, against their peers in comparative occupations, has increased dramatically more than the average for the profession as a whole. Teachers outside of London under the age of 30, for instance, earn 10% less than comparative professionals their age, whilst those in their 50s earn only 3.5% less.

“Given their unwillingness to fund a more costly pay settlement, it therefore makes sense for the Government to focus the largest wage increases on younger teachers. Narrowing the pay penalties teachers face, where they are most severe, will provide support for recruitment into the profession, where it is most needed. Looking ahead, however, the Government must remain focused on improving retention rates for all teachers.”

Luke Sibieta, IFS Research Fellow, said: 

“The government has upped its pay offer to teachers, with an average rise of about 5-6% in 2022. However, this is still below inflation and will make it harder to recruit and retain teachers. From schools’ perspectives, the rises are just about affordable within the existing funding settlement, but will leave very little extra money for wider goals, such as levelling-up or helping pupils catch up after the pandemic.”

Paul Whiteman said:

“With inflation currently running at 9.1%, and set to spiral to 11% later this year, today’s pay award still amounts to yet another pay cut for school leaders in real-terms.

“Even with this award, school leaders’ salaries have fallen in real terms by around 20% since 2010, and inflation is still rising. School leaders simply asked government to begin to restore what they have lost – this award does not do that.

A 5% award this year, rather than over two years, is an improvement on the government’s original proposal. However, it still amounts to yet another below-inflation award. School leaders will have little confidence in the promise of a further review next year as they have been let down so many times before.

Worryingly, the government has said there will be no new funding for this pay award. This will put enormous and unsustainable pressure on school budgets. Ultimately this could lead to a situation where schools are having to consider cuts to essential services or even redundancies.

“Despite the weighty responsibilities that leaders’ shoulder, and their enormous contribution to the nation through these pandemic years, government has once again come up with a pay award that will see them earning less in real-terms. Parents would be right to conclude that government is failing to secure the pipeline of school leaders and teachers upon which their children’s futures are so dependent.”

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

“This pay award is wholly inadequate and represents the worst of all worlds – a substantial real-terms pay cut for the majority of teachers which will worsen teacher shortages, and no additional money for schools to afford the cost of the award thereby exacerbating the dire financial situation they face because of rising costs. It is a double whammy that lets down the teaching profession and the pupils in our schools.

“The higher awards for those on starting salaries affect a relatively small proportion of teachers. And, while this increase is welcome, inflation means that the planned £30,000 starting salary will in reality be worth significantly less than when it was first proposed in 2019.

“However, the majority of teachers will receive a much smaller increase of 5% next year – substantially below RPI inflation currently at 11.7% and therefore a massive real-terms pay cut. This comes after the real value of teaching salaries has already been cut by a fifth since 2010. This dismal record has contributed to a teacher supply crisis which sees the government routinely miss trainee recruitment targets and 40% of teachers quitting the profession within 10 years. Most schools are experiencing difficulty in recruiting and retaining teachers, and have to cover gaps with supply staff, non-subject specialists, larger classes and reduced curriculum options.

“The government does not have the slightest hope of achieving the new English and maths targets set out in its recent white paper in this context. On the contrary, the likely impact of this paltry pay award on teacher recruitment and retention puts existing standards at risk.

“The government’s excuse for a below-inflation pay award is that it wants to avoid an inflationary spiral. However, the fact is that it has found one reason or another to cut teacher pay for the past 12 years – austerity, Covid, inflation. It seems that loyal, hard-working public servants are always expected to take the hit. Unsurprisingly, they have had enough and we – like other unions – will be consulting our members to see whether they wish to take industrial action in response to this decision.

“What’s more, there is scarcely a flicker of recognition from the government about the intolerable pressure on school and college budgets. Following years of real-terms cuts, recent funding improvements will only return school funding per pupil to 2010 levels by 2024. At the same time, energy bills are soaring by up to 300% or more. It is increasingly inevitable that schools and colleges will once again have no choice other than to make cutbacks to provision.

“Is this really the legacy this government wants to leave to a generation of children and young people who have already suffered the greatest disruption to their education since the Second World War?”

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“The Government has been forced by the NEU members’ campaign on teacher pay to drop its previous proposal of a 3% increase for experienced teachers, but it has not moved far enough.  A 5% increase would still mean yet another huge cut to the real value of teacher pay against inflation. This isn’t a 5% pay rise, it is a nearly 7% pay cut.  With RPI inflation at 11.7% according to the latest figures, experienced teachers would see a bigger pay cut than the one inflicted by last year’s pay freeze and even the increase to starting pay is below inflation so is a real-terms pay cut.

“8.9% for beginner teachers does not really shift the dial on teacher recruitment problems. It gives delayed effect to the government’s 2019 plan to reach a £30,000 starter salary within two years. In that time, however, teachers will have experienced the intense and excessive workload which leads to almost a third quitting within five years of qualifying.

“Given this very poor pay proposal, we will look towards consulting our members in the autumn. This will be the largest ballot of teachers for a generation.

“Teachers don’t want to strike – they want to be in the classroom teaching our pupils. But we cannot stand by and watch the biggest real-terms decline in teacher pay this century. This pay offer will do nothing to recruit, retain and value teachers and protect our children’s education.

“We want James Cleverly to engage with us directly and negotiate. We remain ready and stand ready to do that.

“But if it continues on this course into September, we will have no hesitation in recommending that our members take action.”

David Hughes, AoC chief executive said:

“The 5% pay rise for schools may not be welcomed by teachers who know the cost of living is rising faster than that, but it will widen the pay gap with their peers in colleges. Colleges want to increase pay for teachers and other staff, but they do not have the funding to afford to do so.

“This represents an enormous challenge to James Cleverly and the Chancellor, who both understand that without a better pay offer, colleges will struggle to step up their delivery on the post-16 skills priorities that this government so keenly wants to address. Low pay is hindering recruitment and retention of the very people who will train tomorrow’s workforces and help improve productivity, inclusion and levelling up.

“After extensive consultation with colleges across the country, this year’s pay recommendation of 2.5% is already on the edge of affordability for colleges which are still reeling from a decade of cuts and now are being hit hard by soaring inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.”

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