Unions tell Education Secretary: Publish STRB report and pay offer ‘immediately’

Ministers will pay 'heavy political price' for any 'continued failure' to invest, say education unions

24 May 2024| News

The National Education Union (NEU), NASUWT, as well as NAHT and ASCL school leaders’ union have written a joint letter to education secretary Gillian Keegan calling for the publication of the School Teachers’ Review Body’s (STRB) recommendations and the government’s response.

They are demanding a “fully-funded, above-inflation pay increase for all teachers and school leaders in September 2024″. “Anything less would be an abrogation of the government’s responsibility to protect our education service”, they said, adding: “The government will pay a heavy political price at the general election for any continued failure to make the investment needed to support our education service.”

Full text:

“Dear Secretary of State

School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) Report

Last week you received the latest STRB Report. This joint letter from the unions representing the vast majority of teachers and school leaders in England urges you to immediately publish the STRB Report and to confirm the Government’s 2024-25 pay and funding offer to teachers and school leaders. There is no good reason for you to delay publishing the STRB Report and compelling reasons to publish it now.

In your letter of 14 July 2023 to our unions, you said: “I plan to align the timing of the STRB process with the school budget cycle.” Any further delay in publishing the STRB Report will undermine this commitment. We have engaged fully in the STRB process, including meeting consultation deadlines that you missed. You must now support schools in the planning and consultation on pay implementation that should take place before the end of this term.

Parents and pupils, as well as those working in education, are affected by the Government’s failing education policies. For more than a decade, the Government has underinvested in our education service and undervalued our teachers and school leaders. The need for change is overwhelming.

As the STRB Report sits on your desk, the already critical recruitment and retention problems are getting worse. Any delay in publication of the Report will make those problems worse. Many teachers and school leaders will be considering leaving the profession ahead of the 31 May deadline for notice of resignation. Potential recruits will be looking for positive commitments from the Government on pay.

Research published last week by the NFER, as well as from the House of Commons Education Committee, underlined the extent of the recruitment and retention crisis.

The competitive position of teaching has been hit hard by pay cuts that have been worse than those for other professions. Sky-high workload adds to the recruitment and retention problems. The latest evidence supports our case that higher teacher pay increases compared to pay in the wider economy are needed to improve teacher supply.

Schools have faced a continued squeeze on their resources since 2010, with 70% of schools having lower real-terms funding as a result of government cuts. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies demonstrated in March, school spending power is still significantly below 2010 levels and would require £3.2 billion in extra funding to close this gap.

We expect the Government to make the investment needed to repair the damage to education. The critical first step is a fully funded, above-inflation pay increase for all teachers and school leaders in September 2024. Anything less would be an abnegation of the Government’s responsibility to protect our education service.

Parents, teachers and school leaders await your response. The Government will pay a heavy political price at the General Election for any continued failure to make the investment needed to support our education service. On behalf of the teachers and school leaders we represent, we jointly call on you to immediately publish the STRB Report and your proposed
response.

Yours sincerely
Daniel Kebede
NEU General Secretary

Paul Whiteman
General Secretary, NAHT

Dr Patrick Roach
General Secretary, NASUWT”