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Government pay proposals for teachers and school leaders in England are ‘divisive and inadequate,’ say teaching unions

GOVERNMENT pay proposals for teachers and heads in England are “divisive and inadequate,” education unions warned today. 

The National Education Union, the Association of School & College Lecturers, Voice the Union and the National Association of Head Teachers have written a letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on the government’s response to the recommendations of the 30th report of the school teachers’ review body.

In a joint covering statement, the general secretaries of the four unions said: “Teachers and school leaders agree that these proposals are divisive and inadequate. 

“Giving lower pay increases to experienced teachers than to new teachers will not address the current problems but will instead create new ones.”

The union leaders said that the government must improve teacher pay levels and pay prospects and drop damaging and unfair performance-related pay (PRP), in order to tackle the “serious and entrenched” recruitment and retention problems. 

They said that it was no surprise that after a decade of attacks on teachers’ pay, the sector was struggling to recruit and keep the teachers and heads needed.   

“Since 2010 the value of teacher pay against inflation has been cut, PRP and funding cuts have restricted teacher pay progression, and the national teacher pay structure has been dismantled,” the statement said. 

“Even the higher increases for early career teachers are not enough to make the significant restoration in the value of teacher pay that is the essential first step to repairing the damage caused by pay cuts.”

The unions are calling on the government to show that it values teachers and school leaders by urgently restoring the value of their pay by applying a significantly higher pay increase to all teachers and school leaders.

They also seek a properly funded national teacher pay structure offering pay levels competitive with other graduate professions, and the removal of PRP to be replaced by career and pay progression to reward the acquisition of skills and experience. 

The statement said: “The government’s policy of cutting back teacher and school leader pay, restricting pay progression and imposing PRP has created the current problems.  

“An effective solution must involve reversing those policies and investing to make sure we attract and retain the teachers and school leaders we need.” 

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