Despite the serious and deepening teacher recruitment and retention problems, acknowledged by the STRB, the Government proposes an increase of only 2.75% in teacher pay in England from September. 

Nothing in recent Spending Review announcements changes this. The increase is below the current rate of RPI inflation and below the rate of pay increases in the wider economy.

The Government has not even provided the funding needed for this inadequate increase. 

ASCL, NAHT, NEU and Voice, representing the majority of teachers in England, have called on Gavin Williamson, the new Secretary of State, to set aside his predecessor’s recommended 2.75% pay increase for teachers from September in favour of a fully-funded 5% increase.

Such an increase should be the start of a programme to urgently restore the value of teacher pay following the real-terms cuts against inflation since 2010.  Such urgent action is needed to reward teachers for the vital job they do and to ensure that the serious teacher recruitment and retention problems are addressed.

Caroline Doherty, Head of External Relations at The Key, said:

"We welcome this plea as a powerful statement of support for the sector and a much needed call for a review of teachers’ pay. While we're sceptical about how much the government will bend on this issue, given the recency of its last pay announcement, we hope this letter is given the serious consideration it deserves. That the unions have felt forced to directly address the Secretary of State for Education is a clear indication that recent measures have fallen short of expectations.

"Moreover, pay is just one of the many aspects contributing towards overall job satisfaction. Making sure staff are happy and supported with all aspects of the role should remain a top priority if we are to successfully tackle the sector’s battle with teacher retention”.


Dear Secretary of State

School Teachers’ Pay: STRB’s 29th Report and Government Response

As you know, our organisations represent the overwhelming majority of teachers and school leaders in England.  This joint response to the consultation on your predecessor’s announcement on teacher pay following the 29th report of the STRB is intended to demonstrate the consensus within the teaching profession on the key issues relating to pay.  Each of our organisations may also make a separate independent response to the consultation.  

The STRB report underlines the serious concerns that the STRB has consistently expressed in recent years on teacher recruitment and retention.  The STRB says that “the teacher supply situation has continued to deteriorate”, that “this has affected teachers at all stages of their careers” and that teacher recruitment and retention trends “paint a worrying picture” (page ix).  Noting the further projected increases in pupil numbers, the STRB anticipates further problems ahead for teacher supply. This is only the latest in a series of STRB reports expressing serious concern on teacher supply.

The STRB also makes a clear link between the recruitment and retention problems and teacher pay issues.  The STRB says that “the evidence relating to pay shows teachers at all career stages lagging behind other graduate professions” (STRB, paragraph 4.27) and that “the steady decline in the competitiveness of the teachers’ pay framework is a significant contributor to teacher supply difficulties” (STRB, page x). 

Based on its concerns about retention as well as recruitment, its recognition that problems of pay exist at all career stages and its acknowledgement of the damage caused by differential awards, the STRB has recommended a uniform uplift of 2.75% to pay and allowance ranges rather than any “targeted” award.  

The STRB is clear that “a focus on pay for early career teachers, at the expense of those on the upper or leadership pay ranges, risks being ineffective even in its own terms. Those considering joining the profession, and particularly career changers, look ahead at their future possible earnings” (STRB, page xi).  The deterioration of pay for experienced teachers and leaders relative to those on the main scale further undermines retention within the profession.

The STRB’s recommendation must be seen in the context of the lengthy period of real-terms cuts in teachers’ pay and the worsening position against other graduate professions and other groups in the wider economy.  The damage caused by pay freezes, pay caps and below-inflation pay awards is still with us and is a main driver of teacher supply problems.  We need urgent action to restore the real and relative value of teacher pay.  That is why our organisations called on the Government to increase teacher pay by 5% and to fully fund such an increase.

The 2.75% recommended increase is below the current rates of increase (at the time of writing) in both RPI inflation and average earnings in the wider economy.  It will not, therefore, improve the position of teacher pay at all relative to inflation or earnings elsewhere.  

Teachers will see the value of their pay decline still further in real terms and compared to other graduates, making the teacher supply crisis even worse.  The 2.75% recommended increase is also, of course, significantly lower than the 3.5% uplift recommended by the STRB to all teacher pay and allowance ranges last year – even though the STRB notes that teacher recruitment and retention has continued to deteriorate. 

In addition, the Government has not provided the additional funding needed even for this inadequate pay increase.  The Government expects schools to find the first 2% of the pay increase, when schools are already under severe financial pressure. The new Prime Minister has pledged to reverse the education cuts.  This must include providing additional funding to cover the full 2.75% pay increase.  Without this, schools will have to make significant cuts to spending from other areas of their already overstretched budgets. This will undoubtedly result in job losses which will only exacerbate the recruitment and retention crisis. 

This year again saw a delay of several months before the Government made this announcement and published the STRB Report. This has again created an unacceptably short timescale for this statutory consultation – a process which will be complicated by the lack of detail on the Teacher Pay Grant.  

We therefore reserve the right to make further representations, jointly and separately, when further information on funding is made available.  More importantly, perhaps, it has created great difficulty for schools, both in undertaking their own consultations and in setting their final budgets for the year which must now accommodate an increase for which many will not have budgeted and none will receive sufficient additional funding.


We jointly call on you to set aside your predecessor’s announcement and take the urgent action on pay that is clearly needed.  We ask you to agree to increase all teacher pay points and allowances by 5% as the start of a programme to restore teachers’ pay and bolster its professional status.  

We also call on you to provide the additional funding needed to finance this increase as the start of an even more important programme to provide schools with sufficient funding, initially through a reversal of the real-terms cuts of the last decade.

Furthermore, we urge the Government to consult with the teaching and leadership unions on the scope of the STRB’s remit to consider reforms to the pay structure for the profession.  We are united in our view that such a remit should consider the pay for classroom teachers, experienced teachers and school leaders concurrently, in order that the pay system is properly designed to support career progression and retention.

Yours sincerely 

Union Signaturies

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

FE News has published a new article: Covid-19 changing employee motivations 5 hours 26 minutes ago
FE News has published a new article: Acis acquires Riverside Training 6 hours 11 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page