TEACHER unions representing the majority of education staff in England and Wales have submitted a joint statement calling for a significant pay increase for teachers and school leaders, and setting out their views on the most pressing issues facing the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB).
ASCL, NAHT, NEU, UCAC and Voice believe that the STRB needs to set a benchmark for teacher and school leaders’ pay which will make teaching competitive with other graduate professions and aid both recruitment and retention.
A spokesperson said: “The evidence from our organisations of a growing crisis in recruiting and retaining teachers and school leaders means that the STRB must take this opportunity to fully exercise its functions as the independent pay review body for the profession. We believe that this must lead the STRB to recommend a significant increase in pay for all teachers and school leaders, irrespective of their career stage, setting or geographical location.
”We believe it is a matter of ‘justice and fairness’ that all teachers and school leaders should receive an annual cost of living increase to prevent them from being worse off year-on-year. ”The current policy of differentiated pay awards is not working and is demoralising the profession.
”We are calling for a significant pay increase for all teachers and school leaders to begin to address the decline in teachers’ real pay over the last seven years.
”It is also vital that any pay increases arising from the recommendations of the STRB are fully funded by the government. School budgets are at breaking point. Without additional funding, paying staff fairly whilst fully funding the curriculum will be impossible.”
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “After seven years of government-imposed austerity, teachers need and deserve a decent pay rise, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is essential in tackling the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis. And the government must fund any pay award rather than expecting schools to foot the bill from budgets which have already been cut to the bone.”
Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, (NAHT) said: “Teaching is a demanding and important profession and teachers’ pay should reflect this. At the moment, it doesn’t. The recruitment crisis continues unabated and the teacher supply pipeline is leaking at both ends. At present the government is failing to recruit enough new teachers, and doing nowhere near enough whilst too many experienced teachers leave prematurely. A pay rise for school staff is long overdue.”
Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU),said: “Children’s education is at risk – insufficient recruitment and retention of high quality teachers is a very real problem. To begin to address this, it is essential that teacher workload is reduced and that the government now commits to reducing a restorative pay rise, starting with a significant real terms increase in 2018, which is fully funded. Ministers are right when they say an education system is only as good as its teachers and leaders. The public is demanding government values these hardworking professionals who can make such a positive impact on young people’s futures.”
Elaine Edwards, General Secretary of UCAC, said: “For years teachers have not been properly valued or remunerated for their crucial contribution to the education and social development of our children and young people which has led to serious recruitment and retention problems in Wales and England. The UK Government must now address the issue of teachers’ pay and provide a fully funded restorative pay award as a matter of urgency for the next academic year.”
Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice, said: “After years of austerity measures, it is time for the pay of teachers and school leaders to reflect the value of their work, and the importance of the teaching profession to both our children’s education and the future of the country. Without substantial pay increases, the current recruitment and retention crisis will continue. However, the pay rises required must be fully funded so that schools can afford to recruit and retain the teachers and headteachers they need.”
TEACHER’S PAY: HOW IT HAS SHRUNK
- Teachers’ pay has fallen in real terms by £3 per hour in a decade of public sector pay restraint.
- The median pay for a teacher in England is around £28,000 per year.
- Teachers’ contracts require them to work 1265 hours a year.
- That works out to around £22 per hour.
- At £25 per hour, that would mean the average full time teacher in England would earn around £32,000 per year.
- In order to return teachers’ pay to the level it was a decade ago, it would be necessary to award a one-off 14% increase followed by indexation to the cost of living index thereafter just to keep pace.
Apprentices deserve better financial support
APPRENTICES in Wales should have similar access to financial support as University students.
That’s the main finding from the Assembly’s Economy Infrastructure and Skills Committee, which published its latest report on Apprenticeships in Wales on Thursday (Feb 14).
Committee Chair, Russell George AM, said: “Parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes needs to be underpinned by parity of support for learners.
“There is a strong moral case for the Welsh Government to apply similar levels of support to apprentices as would be available to their peers in full-time education.”
The Welsh Government has this week launched an advertising campaign to promote a new package of measures for university students which it describes as ’the most generous student support package in the UK’.
While apprentices receive a wage while they train, they are not eligible for the support available to students, which can make being an apprentice seem less attractive.
The Committee heard that some young people are deterred from entering apprenticeships by the initial costs involved. These can be relatively minor sums of money to travel to interviews, or the first few weeks of work before they get paid.
The Committee’s work found that while there is much that is positive about Apprenticeships in Wales there were a few surprises.
Mr George added: “We were surprised that the number of disabled apprentices in Wales was far below the rate achieved in England.
“We were also concerned that a lack of providers may be preventing young people undertaking apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh.
“There is still a stubborn gender segregation when we talk about apprenticeships. Both the Welsh Government and stakeholders are committed to address this, and are taking steps to do so, but progress has been slow. This issue is not unique to Wales.
“We are recommending annual publication of figures to maintain pressure and ensure that apprenticeships in Wales are available to all.”
The Committee also looked at the role of careers guidance for young people – particularly in schools – to ensure they are being made aware of vocational as well as academic options.
Mr George added: “During the course of our investigation we heard concerns about the way careers advice is delivered in schools. Our additional scrutiny in this area has given us assurance that Careers Wales has a credible plan, and is working closely with the Welsh Government and schools to address these issues. We will keep an eye on whether this proves successful.”
Minister visits adult learning initiative
WELSH Language and Lifelong Learning Minister, Eluned Morgan visited Monkton Primary School in Pembrokeshire on Friday, February 9, to hear more about a successful community adult learning initiative run from the school.
Started in September 2012 with support from the Welsh Government, the Launch Project aims to raise adults’ skills standards and education attainment within the community by making learning accessible to everyone.
Both accredited and non-accredited courses and workshops are delivered at the school and other community venues and have been specifically designed to remove barriers so that people in the community can gain the confidence and skills needed to seek employment.
The provision has also been designed to cater for a wide range of learner needs, from basic skills and IT courses to various accredited courses including a foundation degree in Education and Social Inclusion.
During the visit the Minister met with some of the adult learners who have benefitted from the project and heard their personal accounts about how it has helped them to turn their lives around, gain new skills and seize new employment opportunities.
Speaking after the visit, Minister said: “This project is a great example of a community-driven learning initiative that has been designed by the community for the community and I applaud Monkton Primary School for its pivotal role in that.
“The school is clearly committed to lifelong learning and building an ethos of working and learning together, built on mutual respect between adults and children.
“It was also inspiring hearing from those who have benefitted from the project and seeing first hand the positive impact it has had on their lives and their confidence.”
Extra investment in 21st Century Schools
£100M is to be invested over the next three years to accelerate the delivery of the flagship 21st Century Schools and Education programme, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams and Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgan has said.
An extra £75m, has been allocated to the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme to modernise education infrastructure.
In addition, £30m will be released from the programme in future years for immediate investment in capital projects that will contribute to the goal of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050. This is a shared priority with Plaid Cymru.
The money will bring the total invested over the life of the programme to almost £3.8bn. The first phase of the programme will finish in 2019 having invested £1.4bn to support the rebuild and refurbishment of more than 150 schools and colleges across Wales. The second phase will see a spend of £2.3bn.
Kirsty Williams said: “Our national mission is to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence. Our 21st Century Schools and Education Programme plays a key part in this and is the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s.
“Having a comfortable, modern, fit-for-purpose environment in which to learn is vital to ensuring young people have the best possible education. This extra funding will mean that even more of our students will be able to benefit from having the best possible facilities in their schools and colleges.”
Eluned Morgan said: “Reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050 is a significant challenge and education is key to the success of this ambition. This means we need to invest in new Welsh medium schools and improve and increase the teaching of Welsh in English medium schools. Bringing forward this funding for immediate investment allows us to ensure there is no delay in the work to achieve this target.”
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