Thank you to those who have contacted me about teachers’ pay.
Firstly, I pay tribute to education staff for all they have done this year. At a time when in our schools, and in every aspect of our lives, we have faced the most exceptional disruption, staff have kept children safe and learning, in the classroom and remotely.
As you may know, in this Autumn’s Budget and Spending Review, the Chancellor confirmed that the year-long freeze on public sector pay will end in April 2022. The exact amount by which teachers’ salaries increase will depend on recommendations from the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), the independent body that provides the Government with advice on teachers’ pay and conditions. STRB is expected to report back in spring 2022.
Ministers have not confirmed whether a pay rise would cover the costs of inflation. I believe a real-terms pay cut for teachers would be an insult after the heroic work they have done to keep children safe and learning throughout the pandemic. They deserve to be recognised for their skill and expertise.
I am concerned the Education Minister has said schools will have to fund teachers’ pay rises from their core budgets. Schools are facing rising expenses in other areas, including COVID-19 costs, energy bills and employer national insurance contributions, while Government spending plans mean real-terms school spending will only return to 2010 levels by 2025.
I believe teachers have experienced a decade of neglect, which is driving them out of classrooms. There is currently a teacher retention crisis, with a third of teachers leaving our schools within five years. I support calls for over 6,500 new teachers, ongoing development and training, and for Ofsted to refocus support on schools that are struggling.
Our dedicated education staff have worked incredibly hard to support children and families through the pandemic. We must now recognise their invaluable contribution if we are to deliver a bright future for every child.