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Real-term pay cuts will drive more teachers away from education, NEU warns

REAL-TERMS pay cuts will drive yet more teachers away from education and jeopardise key subjects, the National Education Union (NEU) warns today.

A damning report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) reveals that the government plans to give teachers a wage increase of only 3 per cent.

It comes after a decade during which the value of teachers’ pay has fallen by 20 per cent.

Coupled with inflation reaching 11 per cent, the proposed increase will “intensify the already critical teacher supply problems,” particularly in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, NEU’s Kevin Courtney said.

Joint general secretaries Mr Courtney and Mary Bousted have written to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, warning him of probably industrial action in autumn unless pay is increased significantly to halt the flow of teachers out of education for better-paid work.

Mr Courtney said: “The government’s plan to increase pay for most teachers by just 3 per cent, when RPI inflation is 11.7 per cent, means another huge real-terms cut to teacher pay to add to the losses of around a fifth since 2010.

“With private-sector pay already increasing by 8 per cent, the government’s plan would result in further damage to the value of teacher pay relative to earnings in the wider economy and the graduate labour market.”

Mr Courtney said that the government “can afford, and the country needs,” fully funded and inflation-plus cost-of-living increases across all pay scales as well as action to tackle the excessive workload.

“This is what is needed to send a clear and unambiguous signal that all teachers and other educators will be valued, so that we can protect education in the interests of young people and parents as well as of educators themselves,” he said.

In their joint letter to Mr Zahawi, Mr Courtney and Dr Bousted wrote: “We have to tell you that failing sufficient action by you, in the autumn term, we will consult our members on their willingness to take industrial action.

“And we will be strongly encouraging them to vote yes.

“We can no longer stand by while you run both education and educators into the ground.”

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