Yesterday, the School Teachers Pay Review Body published its report and recommendations to the government. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/626156/59497_School_Teachers_Review_Accessible.pdf as expected, the STRB felt bound by the remit letter it had received from government. As a result, its conclusions didn’t breech the government’s stated policy of a one per cent cap on public sector pay: no real surprise there. However, the STRB’s recommendations did contain one suggestion for higher pay to the maximum and minimum of the main pay range.
STRB’s 2017 Recommendations
For September 2017, we recommend:
- A 2% uplift to the minimum and maximum of the main pay range (MPR);
- A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the upper pay range (UPR), the unqualified teacher pay range and the leading practitioner pay range;
- A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the leadership group pay range and all head teacher group pay ranges; and,
- A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) allowance ranges.
If accepted, these recommendations will lead to some teachers receiving a higher pay rise than others, notably those on the top of the main scale, but not having progressed through to the higher pay scales. Now since many, if not most academies don’t have to stick to the national pay scales, this provides an interesting opportunity for the teacher associations to flex their muscle and demand a 2% rise on the main scale for all teachers not covered by the mandatory national pay scales. If achieved, it would put pressure on the government either to offer the same deal to other teachers across the sector or risk teacher recruitment and retention issues becoming worse outside the academy sector.
The data in the STRB Report suggests that most schools can carry an extra one per cent on their main scale teacher’s pay bill by dipping into reserves. Yes, a hoped for building project might be delayed by a year, but many teachers would feel that their financial situation is being taken seriously.
Is it in the interests of the teacher associations to take this line or to hold out for more for everyone at some point in the future? That’s their judgement call, but I think the two per cent for all main scale teachers demonstrates that they do more on the pay front than just argue the case with the STRB and are indeed prepared to take on a weak government playing a poor hand on public sector pay.
To compensate, I would argue for bringing MAT chief officers pay within the overall cap. It is surely wrong to cap the pay of workers but let the bosses set their own take from public money, albeit sanctioned by their boards.
There is plenty of evidence within the STRB report of recruitment problems, but having waited so long to publish the STRB might have updated some charts with the evidence from the 2016 School Workforce Census rather than relying on 2015 that charted the recruitment round for September two years ago.