Six in 10 teachers have not been given one per cent rise

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Thousands of teachers are in the dark on the one per cent public sector pay rise for 2016/17, with Black, minority ethnic, disabled and female staff more likely to have not received the increase. Pete Henshaw reports

The government’s one per cent public sector pay rise has not been received by six in 10 teachers in England, in-depth new research suggests.

Disturbingly, the figures also show that Black and minority ethnic teachers, female teachers and disabled teachers are even less likely to have received the government’s pay increase.

A study of more than 8,000 teachers in England found that 59 per cent have not yet had confirmation that they will be getting the 2016/17 public sector pay award.

This figure stood at 64 per cent for Black and minority ethnic teachers, 64 per cent for teachers with disabilities, and 62 per cent for women teachers.

The survey, which took place in December towards the end of the autumn term, also showed that 72 per cent of teachers at the minima of the main pay range had not received the one per cent rise.

The government has already set out plans to limit public sector pay rises to one per cent a year for the four years from 2016/17.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is currently considering the pay award for 2017/18 with its recommendations due in April. Education secretary Justine Greening has asked the STRB to respect the one per cent target when it reports.

However, the Treasury has previously made clear to the chairs of the public sector pay bodies – including the STRB – that not every worker should expect to get the rise. In autumn 2015, a Treasury letter to the chairs of the pay bodies, said: “The government expects pay awards to be applied in a targeted manner to support the delivery of public services, and to address recruitment and retention pressures.

“This may mean that some workers could receive more than one per cent, while others could receive less; there should not be an expectation that every worker will receive a one per cent award.”

The situation in schools has not been helped by the funding crisis in education that sees headteachers facing a real-terms cut to budgets of £3 billion (eight per cent) during this Parliament (according to a National Audit Office analysis late last year).

However, the NASUWT, which carried out the research, is warning that teachers’ pay is now up to 25 per cent behind that of other graduate occupations – a problem that is fuelling the teacher recruitment difficulties facing schools.

SecEd reported last term on the latest trainee teacher figures, which show that the Department for Education has missed its overall ITT target for the fourth year running with only geography, biology, history and PE hitting subject recruitment targets.

At secondary level in 2016/17, a total of 15,713 trainee teachers were recruited to post-graduate ITT courses – only 89 per cent of the target of 17,687. At primary level, 11,516 teachers have been recruited against the target of 11,489.

Within the figures, the target for the recruitment of teachers in EBacc subjects was missed by around 700 (11,853 recruited against a target of 12,541). Non-EBacc subjects have been hit particularly hard, missing their collective recruitment target of 5,146 teachers by 25 per cent (3,860 recruited).

The NASUWT warning has come in the same week as a Migration Advisory Committee report stating that the shortage of maths and physics teachers in particular is in part due to salaries in other graduate professions being “considerably above” those for teachers (see page 3 for more on this report).

The NASUWT research also raises concerns about performance-related pay processes in schools. The study found that 53 per cent of teachers were set objectives in the performance management process last year “that they felt were unrealistic and unachievable”.

And 79 per cent of teachers said that objectives set for them as part of performance management included requirements that were not in their control. Furthermore, half of teachers did not discuss CPD at all as part of their performance management objectives.

And in terms of those eligible for incremental pay progression (separate to the annual one per cent pay award), 60 per cent of teachers have not yet received it.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “The findings of this survey are deeply concerning. The failure of schools to deliver a pay award to teachers has contributed to making teaching less and less attractive to new graduates, with salaries for new teachers now 25 per cent behind the average paying other graduate occupations. Six years of deep cuts to teachers’ pay have resulted in teachers’ pay being eroded to the value of tens of thousands of pounds each year.

“The teacher recruitment and retention crisis will not be resolved by continuing to pursue a policy that allows schools to pay teachers as little as they can get away with. This is no way to run our public education system. Our children and young people deserve better.”

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