Teachers to get pay rise in attempt to boost recruitment

Starting salaries for teachers in England will go up to £26,000 later this year, rising to £30,000 in two years’ time, under government plans aimed at attracting more graduates into the profession.

The proposals confirm an earlier pledge by the Conservatives, designed to increase recruitment and improve the status of the profession, which has struggled to recruit in sufficient numbers in recent years.

Teaching unions welcomed the pay rise for new teachers as a step in the right direction, but called for similar increases across the entire teaching workforce which has seen a real terms cut in pay over the last decade.

According to government plans, wages for new teachers working outside London will rise by 6.7% from September to £26,000, up from £24,373. They will get £30,000 in outer London and £32,000 in inner London where living costs are highest.

In contrast, experienced teachers and school leaders will get a more modest pay rise of 2.5% this year, which critics warn will do nothing to stem the exodus of teachers from England’s classrooms, many of whom are taking up jobs overseas.

“We are currently haemorrhaging teachers from the profession and we will never solve the teacher supply crisis unless this situation is improved,” warned Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said the 2.5% increase proposed was likely to be barely at the level of RPI inflation according to the latest forecasts. “The government should know from teachers’ reaction to previous differentiated pay increases that this announcement will create widespread dismay. With teacher retention problems worsening, this is a devastating message for experienced and dedicated teachers.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers added: “The government’s ambition to raise starting salaries to £30,000, whilst welcome, would be a mistake without also addressing the decade-long real terms reduction to the salaries of leaders.”

The government will submit its plans to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) which reviews teachers’ pay and makes recommendations on pay increases. The unions will make their own recommendations, among them a demand from the NEU for a 7% increase in pay for all members. The STRB will report back later this year.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said the increases marked the biggest reform to teacher pay in a generation. “We want to make teaching attractive to the most talented graduates by recognising the prestige that we as a society place on the profession.”

According to the government, the changes represent the biggest sustained pay increase since 2005, which it claims could help retain more than 1,000 extra teachers per year by 2022/23.

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