The Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Education Union, UCAC, and Voice, said teachers’ pay levels have fallen behind that of other graduate professions.
Ahead of the Autumn Budget unions have written to the Education Secretary Justine Greening detailing the need for the pay increase. Teachers pay is lagging significantly behind most other graduate professions which has led to a schools facing a recruitment and retention crisis. In a strong labour market with increasing opportunities for graduates teachers’ pay is no longer competitive.
The letter said: “After seven years of real terms cuts in the value of pay due to the Government’s public sector pay policy, we believe that a significant pay increase is now required for all teachers and school leaders.
“The situation is now so critical that it requires firm and decisive action. In order to support and secure recruitment and retention, teachers’ pay levels must be restored at least to the levels that existed before the start of pay restraint in 2010.
“We believe that teachers must be given an immediate pay rise of 5 per cent in 2018 as a step towards this.
“It is absolutely essential that all pay rises, including any increases in costs, are fully met by additional Government funding given the reality that 88% of schools in England and all maintained schools in Wales currently face further real terms cuts over the life of this Parliament.”
Teacher supply is spiralling out of control, workload is increasing, government politics are making day to day teaching difficult and constant budget cuts means and teachers are being driven out of the profession before they’ve even had a chance to build a career.
Recently, a Newly Qualified Teacher quit teaching after just one term. Eddie Ledsham, from Wallasey found himself crying due to the pressure of impossible hours and unrealistic targets. There was only one class in the year group, which meant that Eddie said he was planning every lesson himself, rather than splitting it between other teachers in the year like some schools.
Although Eddie was taught on his university course how to plan lessons, he said they were impractical for the job. Each lesson plan had to be 3 pages of A4 long and Eddie had to write seven lessons a day, five days a week – that’s a huge amount of pressure on anyone let alone an NQT.
Eddie would get up at 5.30am to do marking or planning and then do more planning in his classroom before the day started. Generally he would be the last to leave school and wouldn’t get home until at least 6.30pm.
Rather than socialising with teachers at lunch, he found himself back in the classroom catching up on work.
Describing his isolation at the job, he said: “Most of the teachers at the school would only speak to me to inform me I’d done something wrong and, if I did something right, it usually went unnoticed.”
Click play to the video (source: The Liverpool Echo, Daily Main and YouTube).
Earlier this year teachers hopes for a rise in wages were slightly encouraged when the government approved an additional 1 per cent pay rise in areas that faced the highest skills shortages.
The news was welcomed by unions and teachers but said the government would have to provide extra funding to support teacher pay rises, otherwise money would be taken from elsewhere in schools’ already over-stretched budgets.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “It is vital that we have the best people teaching in our schools if we are to raise standards and ensure all pupils can reach their full potential.”
“Over the past four years teachers’ pay has been fundamentally reformed, based on recommendations by an independent School Teachers Review body.”
“We are investing £1.3 billion up to 2020 to attract the best and brightest into teaching, head teachers have greater freedom to offer competitive starting salaries and teachers’ pay is now linked to performance to pay good teachers more.”
Without sufficient teachers, children’s education will suffer. Giving teachers a fair pay rise is a crucial part of solving that problem.
Other public sectors including NHS staff and council employees are also campaigning for the cap on public sector pay to be lifted.
November 7, 2017