The National Union of Education (NEU) is demanding an immediate 5 per cent pay increase which is fully funded and will look at possible strike actions over pay at their annual conference next week.
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary, of the National Education Union (NEU), said there was “optimism” that there appeared to be movement on the public sector pay cap.
However a 6.5 per cent pay rise for teachers would not be enough to solve the recruitment and retention crisis, he added.
Data from the National Foundation for Educational Research discovered teachers’ average hourly pay had fallen by 15 per cent between 2009-10 and 2015-16, while that of nurses fell by 4 per cent,
Mr Courtney added: “But 6.5 per cent across three years? That’s a long way short of us saying we want 5 per cent, fully funded, this year.”
“Crucially, teachers are looking at their working hours and they are making a calculation about the hourly rate they actually get,” Mr Courtney said. “When young teachers are reporting that they work 60-hour weeks and they calculate their hourly rate, they are thinking their pay is nowhere near enough.”
Earlier this month Damian Hinds, Education Secretary promised to cut teacher workload by removing pointless tasks that have no impact.
Mr Courtney added: “We have already a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention – and if we don’t act soon it will be a catastrophe.” He said that there was “optimism” from the NHS pay announcement – but he added that entry-level teaching salaries were still not competitive with other graduate salaries.
Action needed now
The government has missed its teaching recruitment targets for the fifth year in a row whilst record numbers continue to leave the profession. Class sizes are increasing to unacceptable numbers, yet funding has been severely cut leaving schools at breaking point.
Teachers previously had annual pay increases as they gained experience. But those policies have largely been replaced with performance-related pay, increasing uncertainty.
“They need to act on workload and they need to act on pay, and in some areas in addition to that they have to act on housing as well if they are going to avert the coming problems,” said Courtney.
March 22, 2018