This story by Helen in TES on 24th July 2018

Unions raise a number of concerns, highlighting the fact that schools will be expected to part-fund the teacher pay rise

Union leaders have raised concerns over a partially-funded and “demoralising” pay award.

Classroom teachers on the main pay scale will get a pay rise of 3.5 per cent, it was announced today, while those on the upper ranges will get 2 per cent and leaders will receive 1.5 per cent.

While the pay increase for classroom teachers on the main pay scale has been welcomed by unions, there are mixed feelings about the details of the announcement.

In a joint response, the leaders of the Association of School and College Leaders, the NAHT and the NEU have outlined a number of concerns, which include:

  • The Department for Education has said that it is still expecting schools to fund 1 per cent, and is only funding the additional expenditure above 1 per cent.
  • It is “unacceptable” that leaders and teachers on the upper pay scale will get a lower percentage pay rise. “The pay award is supposed to reflect the cost of living and, therefore, paying it at different rates is unfair and demoralising,” the unions state.
  • The Treasury has refused to fund the pay award and left it to the DfE to find the money.
  • The size of the pay award does not redress the years of pay freezes and pay caps – the unions had called for a 5 per cent increase.
  • The announcement has come late, giving schools insufficient time to prepare budgets for a pay award which is supposed to start in September, especially as most schools are already on holiday.

‘Deeply unfair’ on school leaders

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said that the DfE deserved credit for an improved pay award and extra funding for it. But he added: “It is deeply unfair that the pay award for leaders and for teachers on the upper pay range will be funded at a lower rate and they will regard this decision as a kick in the teeth for their hard work.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “This will do little to retain valued and experienced senior teachers and leaders. Our members will feel let down by the government.”

But he added that leaders would be “relieved” that the DfE has found money to help schools reward and retain valued staff.

The 3.5 per cent rise for main-scale teachers’ pay was welcomed by teachers’ union the NEU.

“Our successful campaign on school funding, working with parental groups and other unions, has forced the DfE to find funding for this pay award,” Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said.

“But schools and parents will be dismayed that schools will have to find more than £250 million from their already stretched budgets. We are concerned, too, that the DfE will be forced by the Treasury to make unacceptable cuts to other parts of its education budget and we will monitor this carefully.”

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