Independent school staff voice pay concerns

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Despite health pupils numbers and school fees rising by up to four per cent, education staff at independent schools are taking on more work for no extra pay, a union has claimed.

Research by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) involving its members in independent schools has found that a fifth have not received a cost of living increase in their salaries, while two-thirds have been offered up to two per cent. The Retail Price Index for the year to September 2013 is at 3.2 per cent.

At the same time, a fifth of members report that fees have gone up by between two and four per cent in the last academic year, while nine per cent report increases of more than four per cent.

More than two-thirds said that their pupil numbers had remained steady or had increased this September, compared with last year. Only a quarter said they had fewer pupils.

And a quarter of staff said they were working more than 60 hours a week, while 43 per cent work between 49 and 60 hours.

One classroom teacher told researchers: “We are quite well paid, but our hours of work are massive. The school seems to think that it can have us work at almost any time, including Sundays, late in the evenings and even the holidays to a certain degree.”

Another added: “This year fees went up four per cent, salaries for support staff by two per cent, teacher salaries by one per cent. Unsurprising the teaching staff feel undervalued.”

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: “This survey shows that the workload of our independent school members continues to increase year-on-year, with many left feeling demoralised. However, these extra hours aren’t reflected in members’ pay. Are parents aware that the premium they are paying for their children’s education isn’t being passed down to staff?

“We call for independent schools to address the impact of the increasing number of demands placed on staff, as burn-out and a decrease in effectiveness will become more common and unavoidable.”

The study involved 1,603 teaching staff working in UK independent schools in October 2013.

 


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