Teacher pay rise to result in school budget cuts, say experts

All public sector teachers in England will receive a pay rise of around 2.75 per cent, the Department for Education (DfE) has revealed.

However, critics have labelled the deal “the worst of all worlds” which will only result in more school cutbacks.

The announcement, published on Monday 22 July 2019, confirmed that all school teachers and leaders will receive an above-inflation pay rise in the next academic year.

It comes after policymakers accepted all of the recommendations from the independent School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), to raise the upper and lower boundaries of all pay ranges by 2.75 per cent.

The Government says the increase in pay will be supported through an additional £105 million paid through the teachers’ pay grant.

In real terms, the pay rise is equivalent to around a £1,000 increase to average teacher pay, and a £1,620 increase in the average pay of school leaders.

Explaining the deal, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Today’s announcement of a 2.75% pay rise for teachers, accepting the STRB’s recommendations in full, means that teachers and heads can receive a pay rise above current rates of inflation and have more money in their pockets.

“If we want the best people working in our classrooms then it’s right that we ensure their salaries recognise the vital nature of their work and the potentially life changing impact they can have on the lives of our children.”

However, school unions ASCL and NAHT have both warned that it is “inevitable” that the pay deal “will result in more cutbacks”.

“The government has managed to achieve the worst of all worlds by announcing a derisory pay settlement for teachers which schools cannot afford to deliver,” said Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL.

“The much-trailed award of 2.75 per cent is well below what is needed to make up for years of erosion in the real value of pay, or to improve teacher recruitment and retention at a time of severe shortages.

“Worse still, our reading of the government’s statement is that the first two per cent of the award will have to come from existing school budgets which are already under intense pressure and cannot sustain more unfunded costs.”

Paul Whiteman, leader of the NAHT, added that the announcement of just a 2.75 per cent pay rise falls “way short” of expectations.

“The government is only funding 0.75 per cent of the award, deeming the remaining two per cent ‘affordable’. Unfortunately, leaders will have to cut elsewhere in their budgets in order to find the money needed to fund even this moderate rise,” he said.

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