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Pay cap to remain for teachers as Government sticks to wage restraint

The Government has accepted the recommendation of the School Teachers’ Review Body.

Teachers’ pay will remain capped at 1%, the Department for Education has announced, as the Government sticks to public sector wage restraint.

The Government has accepted the recommendation of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which said there should be a 1% increase for all pay ranges.

Teachers’ pay has been frozen since 2010, and the latest announcement means another real-terms pay cut for more than half a million teachers in England and Wales.

Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond have been under pressure to lift the pay cap, including from a number of Government ministers, after the party lost its majority in the General Election to anti-austerity Labour, which has pledged to scrap the 1% ceiling.

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Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond have been under pressure to lift the pay cap (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Monday’s move is likely to be seen as a sign that the Government intends to stick to its plans to keep a tight hold on the strings of the public purse.

In a written statement, Education Secretary Justine Greening said the STRB’s recommendations, due to be introduced in September, “are consistent with the Government’s 1% public sector pay policy”.

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Education Secretary Justine Greening agrees with the School Teachers' Review Body's recommendations ( Ben Birchall/PA)

“Following previous reforms, schools already have significant flexibility, within the pay ranges, to set pay for individual teachers, taking account of performance and retention,” she said.

The Government has accepted a recommendation that teachers on the minimum of the main pay scale get an increase of up to 2%. These are typically teachers in the first few years of their career. There was a similar recommendation two years ago.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “We recognise and value the hard work of teachers which is why we have accepted the pay deal proposed by the independent STRB, in line with the 1% public sector pay policy.

“This will ensure we continue to strike the balance between being fair to public sector workers and fair to taxpayers.”

The STRB is one of a number of independent bodies that put forward recommendations for wage increases, which are then accepted or rejected by Government departments.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has calculated that teachers’ wage increases fell behind RPI inflation by 13% between 2010 and 2016.

The move is likely to spark fresh concerns about teacher shortages.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “For many teachers, this marks the seventh successive real-terms cut in their pay.

“We will not be able to attract the best and brightest to teaching if we constantly cut their pay.”

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