Government urged to reopen talks after review body recommends teachers get pay rise of 6.5 per cent
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Teachers should get a pay rise of 6.5% this year - two percentage points higher than that offered by the government. According to the Sunday Times, this figure was recommended by The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) as the education sector needed a bigger increase to keep it on a stable footing.
The recommendation has since prompted education leaders across England to pile pressure on the Government to reopen pay discussions, after they issued a warning to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan last week. They said teachers would hold fresh strikes in July if their long-running dispute over pay has not been resolved by mid June.
In March, the government offered teachers a £1,000 one-off payment alongside an average 4.5% pay rise after talks. But members of four major teaching unions rejected the pay offer by substantial margins.
The teaching unions involved in the pay talks are NEU, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers NASUWT, Association of School and College Leaders and National Association of Headteachers (NAHT).
NEU general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney said: “Teachers and school leaders overwhelmingly rejected Gillian Keegan’s last offer - both because it was too low and because it wasn’t fully funded.
“Since that rejection, she has sought to hide behind the STRB, saying that she is leaving it to them to make the decision on teacher pay. She now has the report and can no longer hide behind the STRB”. The Government has not disclosed the recommendation publicly.
They added: “She must invite the teacher and leader unions into DfE and be absolutely clear about whether, and when she intends, or not, to implement the STRB’s recommendations in full, or, as we would argue, to go beyond them.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary at school leaders’ union NAHT, said a 6.5% increase “would be progress” but warned of “deep recruitment and retention issues”.
He said: “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.”
Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) general secretary Geoff Barton welcomes the recommendation but the Government must make sure every school has enough money to afford to pay their teachers without making cuts.
He added: “The education unions have had a number of discussions with Department for Education officials over the last couple of weeks about what would need to be in place to ensure that every school could afford any increase in pay.
“We would encourage the Government to restart formal pay negotiations as soon as possible, in order to prevent further likely industrial action this term and next.”
Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union said: “Our message to the Secretary of State is that she has the opportunity to prevent further industrial action by agreeing to work with us to secure a deal for this year and next year that our members are willing to support.”
A DfE spokesperson said: “As part of the normal process, the independent School Teachers’ Review Body has submitted its recommendations to the Government on teacher pay for 2023/24. We will be considering the recommendations and will publish our response in the usual way.”