ASCL comment on lifting of public sector pay freeze

26/10/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders responds to news that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce an end to the one-year pay freeze on the majority of public sector workers in Wednesday’s Budget and Spending Review. 
 
Responding to the news that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce in Wednesday’s Budget and Spending Review an end to the one-year pay freeze on the majority of public sector workers, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

We welcome the news that Rishi Sunak intends to announce the lifting of the pay freeze on teachers and other public sector workers. The pay freeze is a policy which should never have been imposed in the first place. It is extremely damaging to morale at a time when education staff have moved mountains to teach and support children during the constant disruption of the pandemic as well as managing a range of public health duties.

“However, we are gravely concerned about where the money will come from to afford the cost of future pay awards. School and college budgets are under huge pressure and cannot absorb additional costs. The reality is that many schools and colleges would have to make savings elsewhere or run deficit budgets, or both, if faced with unfunded extra costs. It is therefore essential that pay awards are fully funded by the government and that it does not expect schools and colleges to foot the bill. 

“Government policy over the past decade on teacher pay has been very confused. The real value of salaries has fallen which has damaged recruitment and retention thereby causing teacher shortages. At the same time budgets have been squeezed making even small pay awards unaffordable. The government must take a more sustainable approach by making teacher pay more competitive and committing to providing the funding for pay awards
.”