Teachers’ union slams latest ‘insulting’ pay offer

Blasted as another real-terms pay cut the NEU are recommending their members reject the offer

teachers demo

The National Education Union (NEU) has blasted the latest pay offer from the Government as ‘insulting’ and stated that it ‘simply does not value teachers’.

Following weeks of intensive negotiations with teachers’ unions and the Government, a new offer has been put on the table for a 4.5% pay rise on average for teachers and a one-off cash payment of £1,000.

Slammed as another real-terms pay cut, the NEU are recommending their members reject the offer with the union saying that schools would have to make cuts in order to fund the pay increase.

A major element of the dispute was that the pay offer would be fully funded and not come out of school’s budgets, which are already over stretched. However, NEU analysis suggested that between 42% and 58% of schools would have to make cuts next year to afford the latest offer.

The Government has claimed there is sufficient money in the school budgets to fund most of the proposed pay offer and has promised that schools will receive additional funding to cover the £1,000 payment for 2022/23 and additional 0.5% consolidated pay rise for 2023/24.

Teachers have been asking for an inflation matching pay rise, to make up for the 13% real-terms pay cut they have experienced since 2010.

Joint General Secretaries of the NEU, Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, said the offer does nothing to address long-term decline in teacher pay, and therefore nothing to solve the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

For many teachers, crippling workloads, deteriorating working conditions and Ofsted inspections are equally as pressing issues as pay, when looking at what’s driving many out of the profession.   

Currently, a third of teachers leave within five years of qualifying and the Government’s own teacher training targets are routinely missed each year.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney said: “It is now crystal clear that we have an Education Secretary and a Government that is ignoring the crisis in our schools and colleges.

“By refusing to address the legitimate and reasonable request to bring to an end more than a decade of below-inflation unfunded teacher pay increases, the Government is driving teaching and recruitment retention in schools in England to breaking point.

“No child benefits from this level of underfunding. Investing in the education of this generation of children and young people, those hit so hard by Covid, is essential to economic recovery.

“To sit by and allow so many talented teachers to leave for reasons which are entirely fixable, should be a point of shame for this Government.”

On non-pay related offers, among the Government proposals are; ending the requirement to use performance-related pay, creating a workload taskforce to reduce teachers and leaders working hours, and changes in the way Ofsted functions.

However, teacher union NASUWT said the Government has chosen not to address many of the working conditions issues raised by the unions during the negotiations.

Four unions were involved in the negotiations with the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan included NASUWT, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), NAHT and NEU.

In response to the offer, NASUWT union have said they are first seeking the views of their members but are also not recommending acceptance of the offer.  

The NAHT school leaders’ union have called the offer ‘inadequate’ and will be balloting their members on whether to reject or accept, and if they would take industrial action if the offer is rejected.

Whilst the ASCL are asking their members for feedback on the offer and have refrained from commenting on the details.

According to unions, the Government is saying this is their final offer and that if the offer is not accepted, they will revert to the School Teachers’ Review Body process for the next academic year.

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

Left Foot Forward’s trade union reporting is supported by the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust

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