Joint union letter asks DfE for 5% pay rise for 2019/20

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

​A letter demanding a five per cent pay rise for teachers has landed on the desk of education secretary Gavin Williamson.

Signed by the leaders of the National Education Union (NEU), Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Voice, the letter slams the 2.75 per cent pay rise this September as “inadequate”.

It says that the pay rise is below the current rate of RPI inflation and so will see the value of teachers’ pay decline. It is also below the rate of pay increases in the wider economy, the unions add.

And with schools expected to fund the first two per cent of the increase, the letter warns that this will “undoubtedly result in job losses” as schools struggle to balance the books.

In its 29th report to the government, published in July, the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) recommended an uplift of 2.75 per cent across all pay ranges from September 2019.

However, its report added: “More will be necessary over the period of the next Spending Review … investment is essential to underpin teacher supply across England.”

The unions point to the STRB’s warning that “the teacher supply situation has continued to deteriorate” and its concerns that growing pupil numbers are putting further strain on teacher recruitment.

The STRB report warns the government that “the evidence relating to pay shows teachers at all career stages lagging behind other graduate professions” and that “the steady decline in the competitiveness of the teachers’ pay framework is a significant contributor to teacher supply difficulties”.

The unions’ letter states: “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 five per cent and to fully fund such an increase.”

The letter continues: “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 five per cent 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.”


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