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Government confirms ‘unacceptable’ 5% pay rise for experienced teachers

Teachers’ leaders have described the rise for experienced teachers as ‘unacceptable’, with strikes possibly going ahead in autumn.

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Experienced teachers will get a 5% pay rise for the next academic year, the Government has announced after recommendations from the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB).

Both the NASUWT and NEU teaching unions, which have threatened strikes in autumn over pay, said the proposed increase of 5% for more experienced staff is too low.

The NEU has said it will now consult its members on strike action in the autumn.

NASUWT previously said it would hold a national strike ballot if the Government fails to “deliver pay restoration for teachers”.

And Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, previously said a 5% rise for more experienced staff would be “unacceptable”.

The Government announced the starting salary for teachers outside London will rise by 8.9%, with salaries reaching £28,000 for the 2022/23 academic year.

It said this meant it had made “good progress” towards a manifesto commitment for starting salaries rising to £30,000.

“Those in the early stages of their careers will also benefit from significant increases, ranging from 5% to 8% depending on experience,” the Government said.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said the Government had been “forced” by members to drop a previous proposal of 3% for experienced teachers, but added it had not “moved far enough”.

He said a 5% increase would mean “yet another huge cut” to the real value of pay against inflation, and that this would mean members were consulted over strike action in autumn.

“With RPI inflation at 11.7% according to the latest figures, experienced teachers would see a bigger pay cut than the one inflicted by last year’s pay freeze and even the increase to starting pay is below inflation so is a real-terms pay cut,” he said.

He added that the 8.9% rise for beginner teachers did not “really shift the dial” on the recruitment crisis.

He said: “Given this very poor pay proposal, we will look towards consulting our members in the autumn. This will be the largest ballot of teachers for a generation.

“Teachers don’t want to strike – they want to be in the classroom teaching our pupils.

“But we cannot stand by and watch the biggest real-terms decline in teacher pay this century. This pay offer will do nothing to recruit, retain and value teachers and protect our children’s education.

“We want (Education Secretary) James Cleverly to engage with us directly and negotiate. We remain ready and stand ready to do that.

“But if it continues on this course into September, we will have no hesitation in recommending that our members take action.”

The rise is equivalent to an increase of almost £2,100 on the average salary of £42,400 this year.

Dr Roach said the rise represented “yet another pay cut” for teachers, adding that NASUWT would be “looking in detail at the Government’s response to the STRB report” and would respond fully.

“If the Government hopes that teachers’ anger will dissipate over the course of the summer break, they are wrong,” he said.

“The NASUWT will not stand by whilst teachers who have delivered so much for so many for so long are treated so badly by the Government.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This pay award is wholly inadequate and represents the worst of all worlds – a substantial real-terms pay cut for the majority of teachers which will worsen teacher shortages, and no additional money for schools to afford the cost of the award thereby exacerbating the dire financial situation they face because of rising costs.

“It is a double whammy that lets down the teaching profession and the pupils in our schools.”

He said that it threw the Government’s targets for 90% of primary pupils to leave school reaching expected standards in English and maths, as set out in the white paper, into doubt, and could even put “existing standards at risk”.

ASCL will now ballot its members on industrial action, with Mr Barton stating that “we – like other unions – will be consulting our members to see whether they wish to take industrial action in response to this decision”.

NAHT school leaders’ union general secretary Paul Whiteman said the pay rise was a “below-inflation” award, adding that the fact the Government had said there will be no new funding for the pay rises could put “enormous and unsustainable pressure on school budgets”.

“Ultimately this could lead to a situation where schools are having to consider cuts to essential services or even redundancies,” he added.

Mr Cleverly said: “Teachers are the fabric of our school system and it is their dedication and skill that ensures young people can leave school with the knowledge and opportunities they need to get on in life.

“We are delivering significant pay increases for all teachers despite the present economic challenges, pushing teacher starting salaries up towards the £30,000 milestone and giving experienced teachers the biggest pay rise in a generation.

“This will attract even more top-quality talent to inspire children and young people and reward teachers for their hard work.”

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