Unions say 6.5% pay rise would be ‘step in the right direction’ amid review
Teachers’ unions have welcomed reports that an independent pay award body has recommended staff be given a 6.5 per cent pay rise this year.
The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) concluded the hike is needed to keep the education sector on a stable footing, according to The Sunday Times.
The recommendation would go against a Treasury warning that rises should be limited to 5 per cent, and that further pay increases could result in inflation rising.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said an increase would be a “step in the right direction” and would help in addressing ”worsening teacher recruitment, retention crisis facing schools plus restoring teacher and leader pay levels”.
He said: ”It is a significant improvement on anything so far offered by the Government and it is good to hear that the pay review body has asserted its independence.”
He added the other crucial factor is that ”any pay award” is fully funded by the Government for all schools rather than “short-changing schools” and expecting them to make up the difference
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT union, said: “This simply shows how out of touch the government’s offer of 4.5 per cent is.
“Education is in crisis and the Government now needs to listen to the profession and let us help them solve the crisis.
He said 6.5 per cent would mark progress, adding: “The government needs to fully fund the award and resolve the pay dispute for the current financial year, as well as making big changes to ease workload and inspection pressures. It must now urgently reopen serious negotiations.”
Members of the National Education Union (NEU) in schools in England have held three regional and five national strike days since February as part of a bitter dispute over teacher pay and school funding,
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said the potential pay rise would be a “breakthrough and much more than the government was offering”.
He said: “We have to hold their feet to the fire and say you have to pay it, fully fund it or the action will continue.”
Sources told the newspaper the review body had recommended a rise of 2 percentage points higher than that offered by the Department for Education (DfE).
It is claimed the review body’s proposal was submitted to ministers on Tuesday and would require £360m of extra Government spending if it was solely funded by the Treasury.
It is possible the DfE could only receive a fraction of the funding and could make up the shortfall in other parts of its budget.
The Government has not confirmed if the pay body has made the recommendation.
A spokesperson for the DfE told i claims about its recommendation were speculative and it would not be confirming if they are correct as it does not comment on speculation.
They added they would be publishing the outcome of the pay proposal in ”due course”.
In a statement, the DfE said: “As part of the normal process, the independent School Teachers’ Review Body has submitted its recommendations to government on teacher pay for 2023/24. We will be considering the recommendations and will publish our response in the usual way.”
The ASCL announced this week it will hold its first formal ballot for national strike action in England over school funding and staff pay.
It said the ballot will take place during the summer but the date of it has not yet been decided.