ASCL comment on Education Secretary’s evidence to the STRB

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Education Secretary’s evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) about teacher pay awards for 2022 and 2023.
While we welcome the government’s recommendation to raise the starting salaries of teachers to £30,000 over the next two years, there are several aspects of this proposed settlement which are very unsatisfactory. 

“First, it is regrettable that it comes in the shadow of the completely unnecessary imposition of a pay freeze this year which has made recruitment and retention even harder. 

“Second, it is unacceptable that the government is not only proposing to flatten the pay structure so that more experienced teachers and leaders will see a lower uplift but also not applying the same uplift to early career teachers in the London pay areas as for the rest of England. It does not seem to understand how fed up people are with the significant erosion of salaries that has taken place over the past decade and that retaining our experienced staff is just as important as recruiting new teachers into the profession. 

“Third, the government almost casually suggests that this is all affordable within the existing funding settlement for schools when this is patently not the case and will put huge pressure on budgets which are already stretched to the limit and beyond. This adds up to a completely unrealistic picture of how to fix the ongoing problem of teacher shortages, while adding to the financial pressure on schools. 

“We once again call upon the School Teachers’ Review Body to assert its independence, recommend a significant across-the-board increase for teachers and leaders that begins to repair the damage of the last decade, and for the government to put its money where its mouth is and ensure that schools have sufficient money to pay their wages