ASCL comment on teacher pay review decision

21/07/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the report of the school teachers’ pay review body and government decision to freeze pay in 2021/22.
 
Commenting on the report of the school teachers’ pay review body and government decision to freeze pay in 2021/22, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“Following a year in which teachers and leaders have worked flat out on managing a battery of Covid control measures as well as assessing students following the government’s decision to cancel public exams, the decision to implement a pay freeze is an absolute insult.
 
“It also risks worsening teacher shortages in our schools. Teacher and leader salaries have already failed to keep pace with inflation over the course of the past decade and the imposition of what is effectively another pay cut undermines retention of existing staff and makes salaries less competitive.
 
“While trainee teacher targets have been achieved this year this comes after several years of them being missed and this improvement is likely to be a product of the particular circumstances of the pandemic and prove temporary. Long-standing problems in recruiting sufficient numbers of trainee teachers and retaining experienced teachers and leaders are likely to return following the pandemic. It is short-sighted in the extreme to implement a real-terms pay cut in a sector where recruitment and retention remains so fragile and this jeopardises the education of children.
 
“The government must take a more strategic approach with a pay strategy that addresses the pay erosion of the past decade and with sufficient funding in place to make this affordable for schools.

“It also beggars belief that the pay decision for the new academic year has come so late in the summer term when some schools have already broken up for the holidays. Not only is this extremely discourteous to schools and teachers but it makes budget planning an exercise in guesswork if confirmation of the pay award is so delayed.”