Rises in private school fees outstrip staff pay increases


Increases in independent school fees continue to outstrip pay rises for staff, according to research by one education union.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) also claims that many of these teachers are working up to 60 hours a week.

Its survey of 1,243 teaching staff working in independent schools found that 81 per cent are due to receive a below-inflation pay rise this academic year. Its calculations are based on an RPI inflation rate of 2.3 per cent.

The figure includes: 26.5 per cent who say they received a between 1.1 and 2 per cent rise this year, 32.6 per cent who got exactly 1 per cent, 4.8 per cent who got a less than one per cent rise, and 16.8 per cent who got nothing.

However, at the same time, a fifth of the respondents reported that their school’s fees had gone up by between two and four per cent this year, while another fifth reported rises of between zero and two per cent. Nine per cent said fees had increased by more than four per cent.

Pupil numbers are also on the up, according to the poll, with 

46 per cent of the teachers reporting an increase this year. 

The study also found that 

44 per cent of the teachers say they work between 49 and 60 hours a week, with 23 per cent working more than 60 hours.

One classroom teacher said: “I work on average at least 50 hours per week and it would be impossible to do all the planning, marking and paperwork required if I did not do so. I also put in many hours during the holidays.”

A member of one school’s leadership group added: “We are in a culture of being expected to go the extra mile, to work in all free periods, breaks and activity sessions.”

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “The hidden story in pay austerity is the ever-increasing hours members are expected to work. 

“It’s appalling to find that more than two thirds of teachers in independent schools work more than 48 hours a week. Working such long hours affects staff wellbeing, and also affects their teaching.

“Schools are expecting staff to do more and more but are not paying them for it, despite the fact that schools are full and fees have increased, leaving staff feeling underappreciated and deflated.”


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