Joint union press release
Unions representing teachers and school leaders in England are today united in calling on the School Teachers’ Review Body to make urgent recommendations on pay, workload and conditions of service to address the critical pay issues and the recruitment and retention crisis in the profession.
The joint statement calls on the STRB – which advises the government on the pay and conditions of school teachers – to address the consensus in the profession, and reject continuing pay cuts, pay fragmentation, sky-high workload and inadequate funding for schools.
It comes after the government last month submitted its evidence on teacher pay to the STRB. The Department for Education is recommending a 3% pay increase for most teachers and leaders from this September – separate to its offer for 2022/23 which resulted in the current industrial action by education unions.
The unions say continuing damage to the education service caused by over a decade of unjustified attacks on pay, alongside declining funding to school budgets, has resulted in critical and serious risks to the supply of teachers and school leaders.
It is the united view of the unions that for more than a decade the STRB has failed to protect teachers and school leaders from real-terms pay cuts. The STRB must assess the impact of those pay cuts and recommend improvements to pay and conditions that will support recruitment and retention.
The STRB must recommend the pay increases needed to reverse the pay cuts. Valuing teachers and school leaders is essential to repair the damage to recruitment and retention, so is in the interests of parents and young people too.
Major pay reforms, dismantling the national pay structure and imposing unfair Performance Related Pay, have created significant problems and must now be remedied.
The statement from ASCL, Community, NAHT, NASUWT and the NEU shows that the Government is isolated and teachers and school leaders completely reject the policy of real-terms pay cuts and fragmentation. The Government is ignoring the real issues on teacher and school leader pay – the STRB must not.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“The long-term decline in the real value of teacher pay and the resultant recruitment and retention crisis has put educational provision and standards at serious risk.
“Despite repeated warnings, the STRB has failed to comprehend the scale of the issue and urgent intervention is now required. The STRB must recommend the significant improvements to pay, conditions and workload that are needed to protect the education service from further unnecessary damage.”
Helen Osgood, National Officer for Education & Early Years with Community: the union for education professionals, said:
“Let’s make the aspiration within the STRB document a reality and make a real difference to the working lives of educational professionals. They deserve it, they have earned it, and this Government needs to recognise the vital role that education professionals play.
“The Government needs to take this as an opportunity to start to invest in the education system and stop the decline and restore the pay of education professionals to where it should be. We need to see a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“The STRB process has been failing the education profession for many years now. Under their watch, teachers and school leaders have suffered more than a decade of significant pay erosion that has helped cause the recruitment and retention crisis currently damaging our schools.
“The repeated and carefully evidenced warnings we make each year have been utterly ignored.
“This is the last chance for the STRB to listen to the evidence, assert its independence, regain the confidence of the profession, and recommend a pay deal that will begin to solve the crisis and bring an end to the industrial action dispute.”
NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach, said:
“Teachers have faced a decade of real-terms pay cuts, morale is at rock-bottom and our schools are being starved of cash. The STRB cannot continue to wring its hands in the face of the government’s continued ideological attacks on the education service, which are damaging children’s education and life chances.
“If the STRB is to regain any credibility, it must listen to the evidence we are presenting and recommend urgent improvements to pay, workload and conditions to address the crisis in the profession.
NEU Joint General Secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, said:
“Years of pay cuts have created critical recruitment and retention problems. To properly value teachers and school leaders, and protect our education service, we need fully-funded above inflation pay rises.
“We are calling on the STRB to recommend the pay rise needed to ensure our children have the education they need. The STRB should not be constrained by Government claims about affordability. The Government must fully fund the pay rises needed.”
Joint union statement (pdf)
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