Education unions call on the Government to repair damage to teacher and school leader pay

On Thursday 3 March, organisations representing virtually all teachers and school leaders in England submitted a joint statement to the School Teachers’ Review Body.
The statement calls for the STRB and the Government to listen to the united voice of the teaching profession and to make the changes necessary to recruit, retain and properly value teachers and school leaders.
Teachers and school leaders have suffered from a succession of pay cuts against inflation since 2010, negatively impacting the ability of the profession to compete against other graduate professions and increasing recruitment and retention problems. The impact of the 2021 pay freeze continues to be felt, as each month teacher and school leader pay is frozen while inflation climbs higher. Huge rises in energy costs and the National Insurance increase planned by the Government will add to the already devastating impact of the attacks on teacher and school leader pay levels since 2010.
Education unions are calling on the Government to avoid further pay cuts and urgently repair the damage that has already been done.
Increases to starting pay must be accompanied by equivalent increases for all teachers and school leaders.  The increases must be enough to start to restore the pay losses against inflation since 2010. 
The joint union statement to the STRB further calls for a fair national pay structure and the removal of performance-related pay (PRP), for an end to differential pay increases, and for urgent action to cut teacher and school leader workload. 
The full statement from NEU, school leaders’ union NAHT, the Association of School and College Leaders, NASUWT and Voice Community can be read here.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Teacher shortages are a direct result of the erosion of teacher pay over the past decade. This must be addressed with a significant above inflation settlement that improves both the value of starting salaries and applies a similar uplift to the pay of the experienced teachers and leaders we need to keep in the profession. And the government has to ensure that schools have sufficient funding to afford that settlement.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Leadership supply for our schools is teetering on the brink. School leaders’ pay has been cut by a fifth in real terms since 2010, and this, in combination with high stakes accountability, crushing workload, long hours, and inadequate school funding, is driving leaders from the job they love. We need a new, fair deal on pay to make a life-long career in education attractive and sustainable. The STRB is an independent review body – it must act like one and make the right recommendations based on objective evidence and free from government constraint and interference.”

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “There is clear and unshakeable evidence of the enormous damage that has been inflicted on the morale of teachers after more than a decade of real terms cuts to teachers’ pay. The Government must now deliver a programme of pay restoration which recognises and values the work of teachers and headteachers, and teachers expect the STRB to deliver recommendations that will help to restore teaching as an attractive and competitive career.”  

NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “Pay cuts, high workload and the imposition of PRP have already caused huge damage.  The Government must change course, not add to the damage by inflicting more pay cuts on teachers and school leaders.

Helen Osgood, National Officer with Voice Community, said: “Teachers and school leaders have for too long suffered pay freezes, staff shortages and a staff retention crisis in schools. These issues must be addressed immediately, so we have a profession that feels valued and supported, and a profession which young people aspire to belong to and choose as a career path in the future.”