Unions say pay reform must support all teachers

2020-02-26

The government must ensure that experienced primary teachers, secondary teachers and SEN teachers are not overlooked when teacher pay is reformed, several leadership unions have warned.


A failure to reward staff with years of classroom experience could cause further issues for staff retention too, according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Education Union, Voice and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).


The unions made the recommendations to the School Teachers’ Review Body in reference to plans from the Department for Education to increase starting salaries to £26,000.


The jump of 6.7% is considerably more than the 2.5% rise granted to experienced teachers and school heads, which has prompted the unions to voice their concerns.


The unions have suggested that the rise for experienced staff – some two-thirds of the overall profession – should be greater to keep more staff in the profession.


The concern is that by focusing on starting salaries to enhance recruitment, the pay scales could level out for those in the middle of their careers.


Under the government plans, reforms from the next academic year will see annual starting salaries climb to at least £30,000 by 2022-2023, while teachers in London will receive even more.


However, the unions have urged the government not to focus all its attention on teacher recruitment, as boosting retention will also have a vital impact on the profession.


Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary and Paul Whiteman, NAHT leader, have warned against the dangers of “snubbing” experienced staff by not rewarding them.


Mr Whiteman has called for a “profession-wide pay increase, coupled with a return to nationally recognised pay scales that will maintain pay differentials”, suggesting that it will help to keep experienced teachers in the classroom.


Despite this, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said its plans would “provide an attractive career path for the whole profession”.


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