Education Secretary’s evidence on teachers’ pay is extremely disappointing

31 January 2019

Commenting on the Education Secretary’s evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body about the 2019 pay award for teachers and school leaders, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It is extremely disappointing that the Secretary of State has told the School Teachers’ Review Body that a 2% increase in teacher pay is affordable from school budgets when this is absolutely not the case. School funding per pupil has fallen by 8% in real terms over the past eight years, including cuts of more than 20% to school sixth-form funding. These are not our figures but those of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies. Schools have had to absorb a series of additional cost pressures without any more funding and this has inevitably resulted in many having to set deficit budgets and implement major cuts. To say that schools can now afford yet another unfunded cost pressure not only adds insult to injury but places educational standards at risk.

“Furthermore, a 2% pay award is not only unaffordable but totally inadequate after years of pay austerity which has eroded the real value of teachers’ salaries. It is absolutely vital that the pay of teachers and leaders is improved as a matter of urgency at a level which addresses the ongoing crisis in recruitment and retention, and better reflects the professionalism, commitment and sheer hard work of the teaching workforce, and this must be fully funded by government. Anything less is a kick in the teeth.”