“Teaching is now a career with no certainty of expectation with regard to earnings and a growing problem of capricious, unfair and even discriminatory pay decisions” NEU Submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body, Jan. 2018
Unions call for a fully funded 5% pay rise
In common with our sister teacher organisations, the National Education Union believes that teachers' pay has been allowed to fall too far and must now be substantially increased across the board. Pay should be restored at least to the levels which prevailed before the misguided policies of public sector pay restraint and discretionary decision-making on pay increases and pay progression were implemented.
The National Education Union is therefore calling on the STRB to recommend that:
● teachers' pay should be subject to a substantial immediate increase from September 2018,
● this increase should take the form of a 5 per cent pay increase for all teachers in post, not simply an increase to all pay and allowance ranges; and
● this should be the start of a further process of restoration of teachers' pay, at least to the real terms levels prevailing in 2010, with this increase achieved over as short a period as possible.
● the Government should provide sufficient additional funding to all schools to meet any recommended pay increase for teachers and school leaders.
Recruitment Crisis caused by failing government policy, workload and pay
The recruitment and retention problems in teaching manifest in different ways, but one root cause contributes in all cases: the damage caused by Government policy to the pay and career offer that teaching provides.
The issue of teacher workload is equally, if not more, influential. The DfE's workload survey showed that newly and recently qualified teachers worked significantly longer hours even than the 50+ hours worked every week by their more experienced colleagues.
Nevertheless, pay in teaching is causing major problems for teacher supply.
The number of teachers leaving the profession has been steadily rising. 10.5% of qualified teachers left the English state-funded sector in the year to November 2016.
Teachers are increasingly voting with their feet and leaving the profession before retirement age. Five years ago, more than a third of those leaving the English state-funded sector were retirees; now it is less than one in five.
Recruitment targets missed as pupil numbers rise
In July 2017, the DfE reported that the number of children enrolled in state schools would increase by almost 800,000 in the ten years to 2026. The demand for new teachers is therefore increasing, not falling.
However, the Government again failed to meet its ITE recruitment targets in most subjects for the 2016-17 cycle. Postgraduate ITE recruitment fell from a 7% oversupply in 2010/11 to a 10% shortfall in 2017/18. Only 80% of the required numbers of secondary trainees were recruited, the worst performance since comparable records began.
In early January, it emerged that the number of people applying for postgraduate teacher training for 2018-19 was down by a third compared to the previous year.
Real terms 16% pay cut
The cumulative impact of the freezes and restrictions on teacher pay increases since 2010 mean that the value of teacher pay points has been cut in real terms by over 16% in some parts of the structure, compared with Retail Prices Index inflation.
The decline is 15.1% in the real value of starting pay at the MPR minimum (formerly M1); 14.0% in the real value of the MPR maximum (formerly M6); and 16.3% in the value of the maximum pay rate for the experienced classroom teacher (the UPR maximum, formerly U3 - but increasingly fewer teachers are progressing on the UPR).
Inflation currently stands at 4.1% for RPI and 3.0% as measured by the CPI. The latest Treasury forecasts for inflation showed that RPI is expected to remain above 3% for 2018.
Pension costs up too
Teachers have also seen their take-home pay cut due to increased pension contributions. These have increased on average by a half - from 6.4% prior to April 2012, to an average contribution of 9.6% of pay by April 2014.
Many newly qualified teachers cannot afford to join the TPS. They face marginal deductions from their earnings of almost 50% for each extra pound earned, since they pay income tax at 20%, Class 1 NICs at 12%, student loan repayments at 9% and then pension contributions at 7.4% (but 8.6% in Inner London).
End Performance Pay
The latest NEU survey shows that 19% of those who knew their September 2017 pay progression outcome had been denied progression, indicating that the denial of pay progression to around a fifth of eligible teachers has become entrenched. On the main pay range, 9% were denied progression, rising to 39% of respondents on the upper range.
When it was introduced, the then Upper Pay Scale was described as a mechanism to reward classroom teaching through higher pay, albeit accessed via performance-related progression. Effectively, we have moved from a position where a very high proportion of UPR teachers - quite rightly - received pay progression, recognising their developing skills and expertise, to a position where most UPR teachers do not receive pay progression.
Worryingly, but unsurprisingly, one in six of those denied progression were explicitly told that they were being denied progression for budgetary reasons.
The survey again creates concern about potential unfairness, with teachers who did not work full-time being far more likely to be denied pay progression, and lower rates of progression also observed for disabled teachers, BAME teachers on the Upper Pay Range, and teachers who are trade union reps.
As part of a restored national pay structure for teachers, the MPR and UPR must be merged with faster and incremental progression solely on the basis of experience. We therefore call upon the STRB to:
● revisit and re-evaluate the recent pay "reforms" as part of its current review;
● recommend that the Government ends its damaging experimentation with performance related pay for teachers; and
● recommend that the Government should reintroduce the previous statutory provisions for prescribed pay scale points, pay progression based on experience and pay portability.