ASCL calls for fair pay deal for all teachers

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has today called for an uplift to all teacher pay scales over the next three years in line with the government’s proposal to increase starting salaries to £30,000 by 2022/23.
In our evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body, we say a significant increase is needed across the board to address the erosion of pay since 2010. 

In order to move towards the £30,000 starting salary and the necessary increases to the whole of the pay system by 2022, we propose that the minimum of the main pay range for England is increased in stages. The first increase would be to £26,000 in September 2020 – with all other pay ranges increased in line with the current differentials between pay points – and the second to £28,000 in September 2021. 

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are calling for a fair deal for all teachers which undoes some of the damage to teacher recruitment and retention caused by years of real-terms cuts to salaries, and addresses the fact that we are going to need many more teachers in the near future because of a huge increase in the number of pupils in secondary schools.

We welcome the proposal from the government for £30,000 starting salaries for newly qualified teachers but it is essential that this increase is reflected at all salary points in the pay scales in order to improve teacher retention. We are currently haemorrhaging teachers from the profession and we will never solve the teacher supply crisis unless this situation is improved.

It is also of critical importance that increases to the pay of teachers are fully funded by the government. We are extremely concerned that the government expects the entire sum of money necessary to implement its proposal for a starting salary of £30,000 to come from the extra £7.1 billion it has promised will reverse the cuts to school budgets. This is a case of giving with one hand and taking with the other. Schools will once again be in the invidious position of having to make further staff cuts in order to afford the cost of the pay award to teachers.

Our evidence to the STRB says:

The percentage differentials between pay points on the teacher and leader pay scales must be maintained, and this has to include the weighting necessary for teachers to afford the cost of living in London. This is in response to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s remit letter to the STRB in September in which he said his written evidence will present “a strong case for schools to move towards a relatively flatter pay progression structure.”

Our evidence warns that this proposal would create even more difficulties in retaining teachers because they would not be sufficiently rewarded as they progressed through their careers.

And we have provided analysis which shows that on current trends 44% of the teachers who have qualified since 2008 are likely to leave the profession over the 10-year period between 2018 and 2028 – at exactly the time when the number of pupils at secondary schools is projected to massively increase. 

The ASCL evidence warns that the profession will face an “unprecedented crisis” unless there is a significant improvement in retention.

The proposed pay uplift comes after years of real-terms cuts to the salaries of teachers and leaders. ASCL modelling illustrates the impact of below-inflation pay deals since 2010 at a sample of pay points for teachers and leaders, adding up to cumulative losses of between £20,000 and £64,000 compared to how salaries would have risen if they had been in line with the consumer price index.

ASCL has been told that the government expects all of the money for teacher pay rises to come from the additional £7.1 billion allocated to the schools’ budget over the next three years. However, this sum of money must also pay for the cost of ‘levelling up’ school funding, a massive increase in pupil numbers, other inflationary costs such as support staff pay awards, and badly needed improvements to high needs funding.

Our submission to the STRB models the impact on five sample secondary schools if pay is uprated at just 75% of the existing differential between pay points and this shows that they would on average have to cut 10% of their teachers to afford the increased cost.