From education to employment

Joint statement from Education Unions on teachers’ pay

students sat around tables

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, the General Secretaries of the four education unions – Mary Bousted, Kevin Courtney, Geoff Barton, Paul Whiteman and Patrick Roach – and General Secretary Elect of NEU, Daniel Kebede, said:

“This is the largest ever recommendation from the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB). A 6.5% increase for teachers and school leaders recognises the vital role that teachers play in our country and ensures that teaching will continue to be an attractive profession. The Government has accepted the STRB’s recommendation and has agreed to bring forward wider reforms to reduce teacher and leader workload in partnership with all four unions.

“Importantly, the Government’s offer is properly funded for schools. The Government has committed that all schools will receive additional funding above what was proposed in March – building on the additional £2 billion given to schools in the Autumn Statement. The Government will also provide a hardship fund of up to £40 million to support those schools facing the greatest financial challenges.

“ASCL, NAHT, NASUWT and NEU will now put this deal to members, with a recommendation to accept the STRB recommendation. This deal will allow teachers and school leaders to call off strike action and resume normal relations with government.”

Following the publication of the STRB recommendations on teacher pay the Government has offered:

  • To fully implement the recommendations of the STRB report, awarding a 6.5 per cent pay increase from 1 September on all pay points and allowances.
  • To provide extra funding for schools to pay for it, amounting to £900m per annum.
  • Guarantees that this extra money will not come from any frontline services, including Special Educational Needs (SEND) funding, schools’ capital, Maintained Nursery or 16-19 funding provision.
  • A set of commitments – agreed with the Prime Minster – to take urgent measures to reduce teacher workload.

Sector Response to Pay Recommendation

Furthering on the recommendation from STRB of a 6.5% increase in pay, the sector has responded to the Prime Minister accepting the recommendation.

The National Executive of the NEU having considered the offer have agreed that it should be put to our members and to recommend acceptance.

Should members vote to accept the offer, strike action involving teacher members in the autumn term will not go ahead. 

The union will set up an electronic ballot of members, which will run from 18-28 July.

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

“The action taken by NEU members around pay and funding has compelled the Government to now accept the STRB recommendation on teacher pay and to accept that it needs to be funded.

‘Throughout this dispute, we promised to take every opportunity to talk to the Government about the crisis in our schools and what was needed to resolve it. We also said that, if we thought any offer was good enough, we would put it to our members to decide whether it was acceptable or not.

‘No teacher wanted to be strike but equally no teacher could continue to stand by and see yet again their pay eroded, their school funding decimated, and their workload left unaddressed. 

‘There is still much more to do to ensure that teachers are properly rewarded, workload reduced, and schools properly funded. Should the offer be accepted by members, the NEU will continue campaigning and negotiating with the DfE to ensure improved working conditions for teachers and an improved education system for children and young people.”

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“We welcome that our ballot of NASUWT members has now unlocked months of prevarication and brought the government back to the negotiating table.

“The Government has confirmed to us that it will deliver a 6.5% pay award from September to all teachers and school leaders and ensure that schools also receive an additional 3% funding uplift to their budgets in the form of a Teachers’ Pay Grant worth more than £1 billion to deliver the pay award.

“We have also reached agreement that delivers significantly more money for schools in addition to a package of financial support for schools in financial difficulty, worth an extra £40 million.

“We are confident that the additional funding for schools should enable every school and academy in the country to deliver the 6.5% award in full from this September.

“Because of the actions we have taken, NASUWT members can now expect more money in their pockets at a time when the financial pressures on them continue to bite.

“Whilst pay restoration remains a key priority for our members, we have also been clear to the Government that tackling workload and excessive working hours must also be a priority.

“We welcome that this offer is backed by a number of important commitments on tackling excessive workload and working hours, including a target to reduce teachers’ working hours by a minimum of five hours per week, a national taskforce to tackle workload, and measures to strengthen teachers’ working time rights and protections.

“The NASUWT National Executive has agreed to put this deal to our members with a recommendation to accept the STRB recommendation and we will now be consulting our members on it.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges says:

“We know how hard the Secretary of State has been fighting to win new investment for colleges and how serious she is about supporting the sector, so we’re delighted that she has secured a significant win today. This is the first time we know of where college funding has been decided alongside schools, rather than it feeling like an afterthought and I’m hopeful that that is a sign of the recognition at the highest levels of just how important colleges and college staff are to the economy and communities.

As ever, the devil will be in the detail, and we look forward to seeing more of that next week. This will then help us to be able to formulate a new pay offer, which we hope to be able to do promptly so that colleges can put their offer to their staff and the unions, and the sector can focus on continuing to deliver for the millions of students who study and train in colleges every day.”

The Association of Colleges is the national voice for the further education sector, with more than 90% of colleges in England in membership. 

Jack Worth, School Workforce Lead at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), said:

“This is welcome news but very much the first step towards making teaching a more attractive profession to improve recruitment and retention.

“Concerns also remain over whether the 3.5% will be affordable for all schools. Different schools are in very different financial positions, and many have been hit hard by the cost-of-living squeeze, highlighted in a report we’re publishing this autumn.

“A long-term strategy is needed that increases teacher pay by more than the rate of pay growth in the wider economy and which sits alongside workload reduction, increased flexible working and better access to high-quality professional development.”

Teach First CEO Russell Hobby said: 

“We welcome the Government’s decision to increase teachers’ pay by 6.5 per cent. It’s a positive step and will come as a great relief to trainees and experienced teachers alike.

“Many schools in low-income areas are struggling financially, so we welcome the announcement of the Hardship Fund. It’s vital these schools are properly supported so their pupils don’t miss out and gaps don’t widen.”

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

“The Government’s agreement to increase teachers’ pay by 6.5% is welcome after a decade in which their pay has declined in competitiveness. This award still does not compensate most teachers for the increases in inflation over the past decade however, so there is still some way to go to restoring teaching’s competitiveness against that of other professions. 

“The Department has committed to funding this year’s settlement from departmental underspend. However, it is unclear where the funding will be found for the following year, when funding is likely to be too low to meet cost pressures. In addition, schools already facing budget pressures may find the funding insufficient and struggle to pay their teachers the full increase.”

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