ASCL comment on EPI’s teacher pay report

20/05/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the report of the Education Policy Institute (EPI) which finds that after a surge in teacher numbers following the pandemic, the subsequent economic recovery could result in a large proportion of this new intake quitting for other occupations.
 
Commenting on the report of the Education Policy Institute (EPI) which finds that after a surge in teacher numbers following the pandemic, the subsequent economic recovery could result in a large proportion of this new intake quitting for other occupations, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We agree that there’s a significant danger of new teachers quitting for other jobs as the economy recovers and that the benefits of the upturn in teacher numbers could be quickly lost. Competitive pay is therefore clearly a crucial element in reducing this risk.
 
“This makes it all the more unfathomable that the government has declared its intention to freeze the pay of teachers in the academic year starting in September, which is effectively a pay cut in real terms. Not only is this a kick in the teeth for long-standing staff who have worked incredibly hard to support their pupils during the course of the pandemic, but it is an active disincentive to both them and to new recruits to stay in the profession.
 
“The EPI report discusses targeted top-up salary payments and flexibility for higher pay in local labour markets. However, the main problem is that years of government-imposed real-terms cuts to the pay of teachers and leaders has eroded the competitiveness of teaching as a career choice in general, and has also been extremely damaging to retention.
 
“This needs to be addressed through a significant across-the-board increase in pay which is fully funded by the government in order to ensure that schools have the numbers of teachers they need and that they are able to retain experienced staff. This is crucial in delivering a great education to all pupils.”