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6.5% Pay Recommendation for Teachers

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There have been reports that the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), in its report to the Government, has recommended a pay award of 6.5% to teachers.

Sector Response

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“Two months ago, the Government asked us to put their pay offer to our members. Our members rejected the Government’s offer by a margin of nine to one.

“But since then Gillian Keegan has refused to talk to us. The Government has refused to return to negotiations. Instead, Gillian Keegan has said that the matter is now with the STRB.

“If today’s reports are correct, the pay review body is recommending a pay award of 6.5% from this September – well above the 4.5% average that the Government offered.

“If today’s reports are correct, there is yet further evidence that the Government is out of touch and that its position is no longer credible or justifiable.

“But, because of Ministers’ intransigence and petulance, we have been left with no other option than to ballot our members for industrial action over pay, workload and working hours.

“Ministers must face up to reality and ensure that teachers have the pay and conditions they deserve and that every school and college receives the additional funding they will need to deliver those pay awards in full.

“And, on workload, Gillian Keegan must also address our members’ demands for measures to prevent excessive workload and working hours.

“Our message to the Secretary of State is that she has the opportunity to prevent further industrial action by agreeing to work with us to secure a deal for this year and next year that our members are willing to support.”

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

“If true, this appears to be a step in the right direction in terms of addressing the worsening teacher recruitment and retention crisis facing schools, and towards restoring teacher and leader pay levels. It is a significant improvement on anything so far offered by the government and it is good to hear that the pay review body has asserted its independence.

“However, it is only one half of the equation. The other crucial factor is that any pay award is fully funded by the government at an individual school level, so that every school has enough money to be able to afford the costs of paying their teachers, without having to make cuts to education provision.

“The education unions have had a number of discussions with Department for Education officials over the last couple of weeks about what would need to be in place to ensure that every school could afford any increase in pay. While we have welcomed these discussions, we do not consider them to have been a re-opening of pay talks. We would encourage the government to restart formal pay negotiations as soon as possible, in order to prevent further likely industrial action this term and next.

“The government has a history of short-changing schools. We will need absolute clarity that any pay award really is fully funded for every school.”

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, said 

“Teachers and School Leaders overwhelmingly rejected Gillian Keegan’s last offer – both because it was too low and because it wasn’t fully funded.

‘Since that rejection she has sought to hide behind the School Teachers’ Review Body saying that she is leaving it to them to make the decision on teacher pay. 

‘She now has the report and can no longer hide behind the STRB.

‘According to the leak in the Sunday Times the STRB has recommended a 6.5% pay increase. 

‘This is significantly above the latest Government offer of 4.3% which was roundly rejected by NEU members. 

‘However, it does not make up for the poor awards the STRB has made almost every year since 2010 – leading to declining rates of pay and enormous problems with teacher recruitment and retention.

‘Gillian Keegan must now break cover from Sanctuary Buildings. 

‘She must publish the STRB report. She must invite the teacher and leader unions into the DfE and be absolutely clear about whether, and when she intends, or not, to implement the STRB’s recommendations in full, or as we would argue to go beyond them.

‘She must make it clear if she intends to fully fund it.

‘She must also commit to meaningful discussions on this year’s pay and on reducing excessive teacher workload and to reforming the accountability system for schools. 

‘Trust in the education secretary is at rock bottom. 

‘No one wants to be taking strike action but the NEUmandate for action continues into the rest of the summer term and we will call further action if the Secretary of State doesn’t reach a settlement with us. 

‘Our re ballot for industrial action in the Autumn term alongside ASCL, NAHT and NASUWT is underway. We will continue to urge members to vote yes in the ballot. 

‘We will hold Gillian Keegan and the Government to account to ensure they invest in this generation of children, their schools and colleges and the people who work in them”.

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

“This simply shows how out of touch the government’s offer of 4.5% is. Education is in crisis and the government now needs to listen to the profession and let us help them solve the crisis.

“6.5% would be progress but we have deep recruitment and retention issues. The government needs to fully fund the award and resolve the pay dispute for the current financial year, as well as making big changes to ease workload and inspection pressures. It must now urgently reopen serious negotiations.”

NAHT this week opened its strike ballot after members rejected the government’s most recent offer on pay and working conditions.

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