From education to employment

Backtrack on £30k salary for new teachers as real terms pay cut announced for majority of teachers

Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary

A cornerstone of @BorisJohnson’s Conservtive Manifesto, in September 2019 @GavinWilliamson announced that salaries for new teachers were set to rise to £30,000 by 2022-23, under government plans for the biggest reform to teacher pay in a generation.

This is now looking unlikely after a written statement by the Secretary of State for Education announced the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), and confirmed a pay freeze for school leaders and teachers.

NAHT condemns pay cut for school leaders and teachers

Paul Whiteman 100x100Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, the largest union for school leaders, said:

“School leaders and teachers will be rightly angry that the government’s pay freeze will deliver yet another a 3-4% real terms pay cut next year, based on the Treasury’s own predictions of inflation.

“The teaching profession has long struggled to recruit and retain school leaders – NAHT’s survey evidence shows that the leadership pipeline is broken at all career stages. Too few experienced teachers want to step up to senior leadership positions and even fewer can be persuaded to take on the heavy responsibilities of a head teacher.

“The pandemic is creating even greater recruitment and retention challenges. Those considering leadership roles have seen the pressures created by the government’s chaotic response to the pandemic, and its late, confusing and contradictory guidance. They have seen how leaders have worked literally without a break since March 2020, organising a move from onsite to remote learning within in a matter of days, operating complex arrangements for blended onsite and remote learning, navigating the extraordinary circumstances facing public examinations, and operating track and trace through their holidays.

“This pay cut risks further eroding leadership supply, and risks prompting an exodus of leaders when the pandemic finally lifts. A slap in the face doesn’t begin to describe it.”


Dr Patrick Roach 100x100Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said:

“Teachers in England will be right to be angry and demoralised that the Government’s pay freeze will result in their pay falling further behind the salaries of teachers in other parts of the UK and continue the real terms erosion to teachers’ pay in the last decade.

“Teachers have stepped up to educate and support children and young people and they will be utterly dismayed that their efforts are valued so cheaply by the Government.

“The Education Secretary has failed to deliver on the investment needed to deliver education recovery for pupils and he now risks a renewed teacher retention crisis in our schools that will further hamper efforts to secure the recovery that children and young people deserve.

“The Government’s claims of levelling up and valuing teachers have been callously exposed.

“Teachers deserve better.

“Once again, the Government has demonstrated its utter contempt for the teaching profession by failing properly to reward teachers and by deliberately choosing to delay the release of the Pay Review Body report until the vast majority of schools have closed for summer break.”

KevinCourtney100x100Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

“The Government’s confirmation of its plans to implement a pay freeze for teachers and other public sector employees is completely unacceptable.  Teachers and other education staff are key workers – all of whom have contributed hugely to the country’s pandemic response.  All education staff deserve a significant pay increase, not another real-terms pay cut. 

“As the economy recovers from the pandemic, inflation is rising and pay in the wider economy is going up.  A pay freeze will mean that teachers see their pay cut against inflation and will make teacher pay still less competitive against other graduate professions.  The latest School Teachers’ Review Body report expresses serious concerns about the competitiveness of teacher pay and the consequences for teacher supply.  

“The pay freeze will compound the damage caused by a decade of real terms pay cuts for teachers in the 2010s, which has left the teaching profession with major recruitment and retention problems. The lessening of these problems during the pandemic will disappear as soon as the economy restarts. 

“Instead of continuing with its unjustified pay cuts and unfair pay system, the Government must listen to teachers, school leaders and the evidence.  Instead of a pay freeze which is in reality a pay cut, we need a pay increase for all teachers and school leaders which takes a significant step towards restoring the cuts to the real value of teacher pay since 2010. This must be accompanied by the removal of performance related pay and the restoration of a transparent and fair national pay structure.  These measures are essential to support teacher supply and education as we recover from the pandemic. 

“Teachers and support staff in schools and colleges deserve a pay rise after their efforts during the pandemic. The NEU campaign against pay cuts and for fair pay for all education staff will continue.” 

Kate Green MP 100x100Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to the Government confirming a real terms pay cut for the majority of teaching staff, said:

“A real terms pay cut for the vast majority of teachers is an insult after the heroic work they have done to keep children safe and learning throughout the pandemic.

“After the work they have done in the last year teachers and school leaders deserve a government that is on their side, but instead the Conservatives are leaving them worse off and breaking a manifesto promise to raise starting salaries.”

Teachers Update Statement confirming freeze to headline pay rates made on 21 July 2021 

Gavin Williamson Feb2020 750x570

21st Jul 2021: Statement made by the Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson in response to the latest School Teachers’ Review Body’s Report:

The 31st report of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is being published today [21 Jul].

Its recommendations cover the remit issued in December 2020, regarding the pay award for teachers that is due to be implemented from September 2021. The report will be presented to Parliament and published on

The government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in the running of our public services, including in their remarkable commitment to keeping the public safe in the continuing fight against Covid-19. I am extremely grateful to all teachers and leaders for the dedication they have shown in enabling schools to remain open and supporting pupils with remote education throughout the pandemic, to ensure pupils get the best possible education.

The government values the independent expertise and insight of the STRB and takes on board the useful advice and principles set out in response to the government’s recommendations outlined in the report.

As set out at the Spending Review (2020), there will be a pause to headline pay rises for the majority of public sector workforces in 2021-22. This is in order to ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth, as the private sector was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the form of reduced hours, supressed earnings growth and increased redundancies, whilst the public sector was largely shielded from these effects. This approach will protect public sector jobs and investment in public services, prioritising the lowest paid, with those earning less than £24,000 (Full Time Equivalent) receiving a minimum £250 increase. The pause ensures we can get the public finances back onto a sustainable path after unprecedented government spending on the response to Covid-19.

My remit letter to the STRB welcomed views on uplifts for those Unqualified Teachers, earning below £24,000 (Full Time Equivalent).

The STRB has recommended a pay award of £250 for all teachers earning less than £24,000 (or the recommended equivalent value for teachers in the London pay areas). Their report outlines recommendations for how to implement this, including adjustments for London.

The STRB has also recommended that advisory pay points are reintroduced on the Unqualified Teacher pay range, as was the case for classroom teachers on the Main Pay Range and Upper Pay Range last year.

I am today confirming my proposed response is to accept these recommendations in full.

A full list of the recommendations and my proposed approach for implementation is attached as an annex.

I would like to reiterate that the £250 award should be paid to all eligible teachers, whether located on a published pay point or not, and that the pause on pay will apply to headline pay uplifts only. Teachers earning below the maximum of their pay range may be eligible for performance-related pay progression and teachers can also continue to apply for promotion. Academies, as usual, have the freedom to set their own pay policies.

Finally, this pay award will be affordable within school budgets due to this government’s three-year investment package announced at the 2019 Spending Round. We are increasing core schools funding by £2.2 billion in the 2021-22 financial year, compared to 2020-21 – the second year of the three year school funding settlement from the 2019 Spending Round – and will increase it by a further £2.4 billion, to £52.2 billion in 2022-23 overall. As previously set out, the funding schools have previously received through the teachers’ pay and pension grants will be part of schools’ core funding allocations as determined by the schools national funding formula from 2021-22, and there will be no increase to these grants in respect of this year’s pay award.

My officials will write to all of the statutory consultees of the STRB to invite them to contribute to a consultation on the Government’s response to these recommendations and on a revised School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document and Pay Order. The consultation will last for eight weeks.

Gavin Williamson, The Secretary of State for Education

21 Jul 2021: Recommendations from the School Teachers’ Review Body on teachers’ pay


School Teachers’ Review Body 31st report: 2021

Ref: ISBN 978-1-5286-2627-9, CP 468PDF, 1.15MB, 111 pages

School Teachers’ Review Body 31st report 2021: Executive Summary

PDF, 108KB, 8 pages


This report sets out the STRB’s analysis of evidence from relevant organisations, its assessment of the labour market for teachers and its proposals for the pay of teachers earning less than £24,000. The government responded to the report in Parliament.

The STRB provides independent advice to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Education on school teachers’ and leaders’ pay and conditions in England.

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