Teacher recruitment crisis to deepen due to pay restraint

Head teachers have warned that the teacher shortage will be exacerbated by the government’s proposal to limit teachers’ pay rises to one per cent.

The warning has come as the Depeartment for Education (DfE) has re-iterated its ‘strong case for continued pay restraint’, in which it argues that any pay deal should be affordable within school’s existing budgets.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has claimed that the profession has already suffered a real-terms pay cut of around 15 per cent in the past five years. The evidence was submitted to the School Teacher’s Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations to the government regarding teachers’ pay.

The head’s union maintains it ‘strongly opposes’ the government’s proposed limit as the move would ‘hamper recruitment’ and worsen the present teacher shortage which is ‘one of the most significant issues affecting schools and their communities’.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told the STRB that it should ‘ensure that its proposals reflect’ the pay restraint policy for teachers’ pay next year.

However the ASCL’s submitted evidence says it should not be ‘fettered’ by this government restriction and should ‘press the DfE for fully funded pay rises above the proposed one per cent’.

ASCL argues: “They cannot be fettered by an arbitrary amount. Rather they should review all the evidence and make a recommendation based upon that.

“The current [teacher recruitment] crisis is at all levels: senior leadership; regional and by subject. Unless action is taken immediately, including a universal, fully funded pay uplift, it is predicted to get worse during the lifetime of this parliament.”

It adds: “The shortage of teachers is having serious consequences on young people as schools are forced to find solutions such as reducing the range of courses they offer, using teachers to cover subjects in which they are not specialists, and spending a large proportion of their budgets on recruitment costs.

“ASCL urges the STRB to press the DfE to fully fund pay rises so that the government meets the additional costs rather than again expecting them to be met from existing school budgets which are already under huge pressure because of unfunded increases to employers’ contributions to teacher pensions and National Insurance costs.”

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