Three education unions – ASCL, NAHT and NEU – are today making a statement on the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) and the remit given to it yesterday by Gavin Williamson.
In a joint statement, the general secretaries of the three unions, said:
“The narrow remit issued to the STRB excludes the crucial and central issue of teacher and school leader pay, reflecting the Government's unacceptable pay freeze policy. Teachers and school leaders are key workers who have already seen their pay cut significantly since 2010. With inflation expected to increase in 2021, they know that they face another significant real terms pay cut.
“It's not just teacher and leader pay levels that need to be addressed. The imposition of performance-related pay, the dismantling of the national teacher pay structure in England, high workload and real terms funding cuts have created major problems. Teachers and leaders have had pay progression restricted on the basis of issues that are completely out of their control, such as the funding position of the school. In recent years experienced teachers and leaders have seen their pay eroded by below-inflation differentiated pay rises, exacerbating the supply crisis.
“It is essential that the STRB looks at all relevant evidence when making recommendations on teacher and leader pay. This must include the impact on recruitment and retention of previous and future real terms pay cuts, as well as problems created by performance-related pay and the dismantling of the pay structure. The STRB should be asked to say what it would have recommended but for the pay freeze.
“This remit demonstrates breathtaking complacency on the part of the Government. Temporary improvements in recruitment and retention driven by the COVID pandemic do not mean that the deep-seated problems in teacher recruitment and retention have been solved. Teachers and leaders have contributed so much to the country's response to COVID, yet the Government is effectively using the pandemic to justify further attacks on their pay.
“The Government's attempt to constrain the STRB in this way makes a mockery of the review body process. This is the School Teachers' Pay Review Body after all. We need fair pay for teachers and school leaders and an evidence-based approach.”
Geoff Barton, General Secretary, Association of School and College Lecturers
Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union
Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union
Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers