Teachers face 1 per cent pay rise for 2016 but pay body issues warning over recruitment

Recruitment and retention in teaching continues to deteriorate as teachers’ earnings ‘trail’ other professionals, warns STRB

Teachers’ pay should rise by 1 per cent, the long-awaited School Teachers’ Review Body report has recommended today.

But the body has warned that should the current pressures on recruitment and retention continue, pay rises “significantly higher than 1 per cent” would be required during the course of this parliament.

And it recommends that the Department for Education make it clear that schools may give a salary advance to help teachers pay rental deposits as part of their recruitment incentives.

For September 2016, the report recommends a 1 per cent uplift to the bottom and top ends of the pay ranges for all classroom teachers and leadership pay ranges. The government had argued for an average pay award of 1 per cent, but unions wanted a substantially higher increase.

The STRB said it could not recommend a higher pay rise at the moment: “given the government’s clear position that there will be no additional funding”, and the importance of giving schools time to plan for managing a higher rise.

It said that while schools have considerable autonomy on pay – many schools are “not yet confident in using pay flexibilities” and use of generic pay policies remains widespread.

The body adds that it had considered whether there was scope for nationally targeted rises which were higher than 1 per cent, but decided that it was up to individual schools to decide how to target pay rises, according to local circumstances.

But it adds that the Department for Education should help schools prepare for higher pay rises in future.

“Our analysis of earnings data showed that the relative position of teachers’ earnings has deteriorated further this year and they continue to trail those of other professional occupations in most regions,” the report states.

“We are concerned about this further deterioration in the recruitment and retention position when set against strong demand in the graduate labour market and continuing concerns in the profession about workload.”

The STRB says it is vital for schools to think about how best to use pay flexibilities such as: offering higher starting salaries, making performance-based progression awards and using recruitment and retention incentives.

Earlier this year, an alliance of teaching unions and other education organisations, recommended that teachers should be helped with mortgage deposits. Although today’s report makes no mention of this.

Kevin Courtney, acting general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “The government has been told in the clearest terms by the STRB that its misguided policy of cutting teachers’ pay is damaging our schools.

“The STRB, unlike the government, has recognised the mounting crisis in recruitment and retention. It has told the Government that a pay increase ‘significantly higher than 1 per cent’ is needed and that schools need more funding to allow this. It has also told the government that it should make preparations for a higher increase in the next couple of years.

“The NUT is hugely disappointed that the STRB decided to accept the 1 per cent pay limit this year but strongly supports the STRB’s view that the government must urgently find more money for schools to allow them to employ more and better-paid teachers.”

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