Education unions respond to Government’s much delayed pay review submission

The DfE has belatedly provided evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body

15 Mar 2024| News

The Government have finally submitted their evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) about the 2024 pay award for teachers and leaders. The belated evidence from the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, has drawn criticism from teaching unions.

Unions had previously expressed their “serious frustration and disquiet” after it emerged the Government would miss the deadline to submit evidence to the body that helps set teacher pay.

However, the evidence, as presented, was greeted with disappointment from teaching unions. Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), commented:

“The Government’s evidence to the STRB shows that it is continuing to ignore the reality of teacher pay, conditions and recruitment and retention. The Government ignores the impact of the huge teacher pay cuts against inflation since 2010 and presents a misleading picture of teacher pay increases in recent years, which have continued those pay cuts when we needed them to be corrected. We have warned that the Government is gearing up for another paltry pay increase of some 1-2% and is refusing to provide the additional funding needed for the pay correction required. The Government is again attempting to constrain the STRB to working within the existing inadequate funding envelope.

The Government evidence talks about teacher pay awards returning to a ‘more sustainable’ level – but it is the damage to education caused by Government policy that is not sustainable. The recruitment and retention crisis, driven by pay cuts and excessive workload within an environment of funding shortages, is causing severe damage not just to teachers and school leaders but to the pupils and communities they serve. We need a fully funded, major correction to teacher pay to repair the damage to teacher living standards and to the competitive position of teaching, and to protect our education service.

The NEU is opening on Saturday a preliminary ballot of teachers members in England calling for a fully-funded above inflation pay increase. This latest announcement from Government will anger our members. Strike action is a last resort but it will be an option our members will seriously consider in the face of such a belligerent approach from this Government.”

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“The Department for Education’s evidence, stating that next year’s teacher pay award must be “more sustainable” will be deeply concerning for professionals. For over a decade, teachers and leaders have grappled with real terms pay cuts in the face of a cost-of-living crisis, and sky-high inflation. The consequences of this are now being felt through a full-blown recruitment and retention crisis.

The point made about a predicted slowdown in inflation shows how out of touch ministers are. They must wake up and realise that last year’s award is not anywhere close to the ‘correction’ needed – teachers and leaders need a series of competitive pay awards that restore over a decade of lost pay.

School leaders will rightly be angry that once again, the government has decided to abuse and undermine confidence in the statutory pay process with a late submission.”

We hope government will at least show investment in the next generation in the budget.”