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NASUWT warns teachers' pay review body that chaos, confusion, unfairness and discrimination is rife in schools

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has submitted its response to the Government’s submission on teachers’ pay to the School Teachers’ Review Body for England and Wales to inform its report ‘Teachers’ Pay for 2016-17’.

This response from the NASUWT provides a forensic analysis of the Government’s submission and supplements the detailed and comprehensive evidence submitted to the Review Body by the Union in November. It sets out a clear case for a significant pay award for teachers and highlights the need for an urgent change of direction for Government policy on teachers’ pay,  which is a major contributory factor to the current teacher supply crisis.

In its response to the Government’s submission, the NASUWT’s detailed analysis includes highlighting to the Review Body that:

  • The Government has failed to provide any hard, substantiated evidence to support its proposals to impose a further cut to teachers’ pay, relying instead on a series of anecdotes and assertions;
  • The Government is in denial about the teacher supply crisis, a crisis which is a direct result of Government policy on teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions of service, which has driven deep cuts to teachers’ pay year on year since 2011, exacerbated the pay cuts by increased pension contributions and  generated the excessive workload blighting the working lives and health and well-being of teachers;
  • In order to shore up its claim that there is no crisis in teacher supply and to mask the true picture of vacancy rates, the Government has submitted misleading information on how vacancies are calculated and on the state of the recruitment of trainee teachers;
  • There is chaos, confusion, unfairness and discrimination across schools as a result of the Government’s introduction of extensive pay flexibilities and discretions introduced since 2013.

Ms Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary said:

“The Review Body cannot ignore the NASUWT’s detailed evidence which demonstrates clearly that Government policies on teachers’ pay are a major contributory factor to the current crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

“A Report by Incomes Data Research, commissioned by the NASUWT, confirms that teaching ‘appears relatively unattractive in terms of earnings when compared to other graduate occupations.’

“The NASUWT’s prediction that the introduction by the Government of more and more flexibility and discretion at school level over teachers’ pay would lead to a situation akin to the ‘wild west’ across schools, has proved to be correct. Confusion, discrimination and unfairness are now rife. Well over three quarters of teachers report they have seriously considered leaving the profession in the last twelve months.

“But it is not only teachers who are losing out.

“Teachers’ pay and conditions of service are inextricably linked to the provision of high quality education. Failure to ensure that teachers are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals, coupled with year-on-year pay cuts has fuelled the teacher supply crisis.  Children and young people are now facing the consequences of  policies which are driving teachers out of, and deterring them from entering, the profession.

“If this situation is to be addressed the Review Body must shake off the dead-hand of the Treasury and assert its independence to come up with recommendations which will reverse this race to the bottom in teachers’ pay and conditions of service.”