Teacher recruitment “crisis” would be deepened by 1% pay rise, heads warn

The teacher recruitment “crisis” will be exacerbated by a government proposal to limit teachers’ pay rises to 1 per cent, heads warned today.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says the profession has already suffered a real terms pay cut of around 15 per cent in the last five years, in evidence submitted evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations to the government on teachers’ pay

The heads’ union says it “strongly opposes” the goverment’s proposed limited because it would “hamper recruitment” and worsen a teacher shortage that was already “one of the most significant issues affecting schools and their communities”.

In July chancellor George Osborne announced that pay rises across the public sector in 2016-17 should be 1 per cent on average.

And in October education secretary Nicky Morgan told the STRB, that it should “ensure that [its] proposals reflect” this policy for teachers’ pay next year.

But the ASCL evidence to the review body, published today, said it should not be “fettered” by this government restriction and should “press the Department for Education for fully funded pay rises above the proposed one per cent”.

“They [the STRB] cannot be fettered by an arbitrary amount,” ASCL argues. “Rather they should review all the evidence and make a recommendation based upon that.”

“The current [teacher recruitment] crisis is at all levels: senior leadership; regional and by subject,” it said. “Unless action is taken immediately, including a universal, fully funded pay uplift, it is predicted to get worse during the lifetime of this parliament.”

It adds: “The shortage of teachers is having serious consequences on young people as schools are forced to find solutions such as reducing the range of courses they offer, using teachers to cover subjects in which they are not specialists, and spending a large proportion of their budgets on recruitment costs.

“ASCL urges the STRB to press the DfE to fully fund pay rises so that the government meets the additional costs rather than again expecting them to be met from existing school budgets which are already under huge pressure because of unfunded increases to employers’ contributions to teacher pensions and National Insurance costs.”

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