Teachers' pay: Difficult decision looms for education secretary

Squeezed school finances, a Treasury that looks unlikely to budge, recruitment and retention problems, and a teacher workforce threatening strike action all look set to place the education secretary in a difficult position this month.

An analysis of the teacher pay negotiations has highlighted seemingly “irreconcilable differences” as we await publication of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) recommendations for the 2022/23 pay awards.

James Zuccollo, director for school workforce at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), says that we are facing “one of the most difficult teacher pay negotiations for many years, with a large gap between the settlement offered by the government and the amount being requested by the unions”.

His analysis highlights that teachers’ pay in England has fallen behind, both in real-terms and versus teacher pay in many other countries.

Indeed, analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (Cribb & Sibieta, 2021) shows us that between 2007 and 2021 pay has fallen in real-terms by 8% for upper pay scale and 4% for main pay scale colleagues.

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