“The NFER is absolutely right that a 6.5% pay award next year will not on its own solve the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. It would, however, be a step in the right direction provided there is adequate funding for schools to be able to afford the pay award.
“However, as it stands, the government has not even agreed to this figure, let alone committed to anything remotely resembling a long-term strategy to address teacher shortages. In fact, reports suggest the Prime Minister is arguing that it should be much less than 6.5%.
“Teacher recruitment and retention problems are now so serious that this is something akin to an existential crisis. Schools and colleges are struggling to put qualified teachers in front of classes and it is only a matter of time before they are not able to do so any longer. This isn’t a problem that has happened overnight. It is the result of more than a decade of pay erosion, inadequate funding and rising workloads caused by these systemic pressures.
“This is compounded by the fact that we have entered a new era in which many workers in many professions are able to enjoy the flexibility and benefits of hybrid working in a way that is not possible for teachers and some workers in other public services. The government has to understand and react to this societal change with a much sharper focus on the rewards and benefits of public service jobs in order to ensure that we actually have enough public servants.”