Education unions in united call to Secretary of State for urgent measures to improve teacher pay and conditions

An STRB response and a statement to education secretary Gillian Keegan are both signed by ASCL, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU and Community.
The joint response to the School Teachers Review Body (England) report from unions representing almost all teachers and school leaders underlines the consensus in the profession on the key pay and conditions issues. Teachers and school leaders are clear that the pay increase for September 2023 must be only the first in a series of urgent steps to repair the damage to pay and conditions, and to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis. Pay cuts and sky-high workload have created major teacher shortages, damaging our education service. The support for this year’s pay disputes showed that teachers, school leaders and parents are crying out for urgent repair to the damage that has been caused by Government political choices since 2010. For the sake of our education service, we need a major correction in teacher pay and urgent improvements in workload and working conditions.

This year the unions have also sent a separate joint statement to Gillian Keegan on performance-related pay (PRP). The STRB has called for the removal of the obligation on schools to operate performance related pay (PRP).  This brings the STRB into line with the united position of the profession and exposes the isolation of the Government on this key issue. PRP leads to unfair pay outcomes and adds to workload problems. The unions call on the Government to immediately remove PRP. Instead of unfair PRP we need a fair national pay structure to support recruitment and retention. A failure by the Government to immediately remove PRP will put it at odds with the profession, the evidence and the STRB.

Both documents are available on the links above. They were submitted today.

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
The Government must act now to repair the damage to teacher pay, fix the serious recruitment and retention problems, implement a fair national pay structure with no PRP, and tackle high workload and excessive accountability. All of this requires investment in education, of a level sufficient to achieve a well-supported school system with valued teachers and school leaders. With a general election due next year, the Government will be held accountable by parents and the public, as well as by educators, for any further failure to invest in our education service.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: 
When the Government’s offer on teacher pay and funding for 2023/24 was accepted, we were very clear that it would not be sufficient on its own to address the recruitment and retention crisis, funding pressures and the many other problems faced by schools and colleges. It is vitally important that this settlement is the beginning of a process to provide the sustained investment in education that has been sorely lacking over the last decade.”

Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: 
"Over the last 13 years, teachers have been working longer and longer for less and less whilst reforms introduced by the Government during that time have undermined morale and led to an exodus of teachers and headteachers from the profession.

“The Government needs to demonstrate that it is on the side of hardworking teachers or risk losing any last remaining shred of credibility it has with the teaching profession.

“Ministers should start by not ignoring evidence from the pay review body, including its advice to abandon immediately the discredited system of performance related pay on the grounds that it is unfair, divisive and discriminatory.

Helen Osgood, National Officer for Education and Early Years at Community, said: 
The 33rd School Teachers’ Review Body report is an improvement on last year's, but it does not go far enough to begin to address the issues facing the sector, nor does it safeguard the profession for the generations of teachers to come. For example, we are deeply disappointed that more is not being done to address recruitment and retention of school staff. 

“We also have concerns on TLR payments, upper pay scales, PPA time and steps to address workloads that have not been addressed in this report, which the Government should have published well before the end of the summer term. We want to make things better in education and Community will work hard to raise these issues at all levels, for the benefit of all the pupils, students and the whole education workforce

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: 
We are very clear that the pay deal agreed with Government over the summer must be only the first step in restoring teacher and school leader pay. The erosion seen over the past decade has had a massively detrimental impact and children’s education is the worse off thanks to the resulting recruitment and retention crisis. Competitive pay, alongside serious efforts towards reducing unmanageable workloads and unsustainable accountability, is needed to ensure teaching is an attractive proposition for a life-long career.”