England Pay Award

Government demonstrates utter contempt for the teaching profession as Secretary of State confirms 2021/22 teachers’ pay freeze

On 21 July 2021, the Secretary of State confirmed the decision of the Government to implement a pay freeze for all qualified teachers. Only unqualified teachers earning less than £24,000 (with adjustments for the London pay scales) will receive a pay award in 2021/22.

Dr Patrick Roach, the NASUWT General Secretary, responded by stating that ‘once again, the Government has demonstrated its utter contempt for the teaching profession.’

Dr Roach went on to add, ‘Teachers in England will be right to be angry and demoralised that the Government’s pay freeze will result in their pay falling further behind the salaries of teachers in other parts of the UK and continue the real-terms erosion to teachers’ pay in the last decade.

‘Teachers have stepped up to educate and support children and young people and they will be utterly dismayed that their efforts are valued so cheaply by the Government.

‘The Government’s claims of levelling up and valuing teachers have been callously exposed. Teachers deserve better.’

The Secretary of State for Education provided the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) with a remit to deliver the teachers’ pay freeze. The STRB has followed the Government’s diktat and has made the following recommendations in its 31st Report about unqualified teachers’ pay, which have been accepted by the Secretary of State:

A 2021/22 pay award of £250, which is consolidated into pay scales, will be made to unqualified teachers earning less than the following salaries:

  • £24,000 in the rest of England (i.e. outside the London pay scales);

  • £25,194 in the Fringe;

  • £27,419 in Outer London;

  • £28,681 in Inner London.

The STRB has recommended that advisory pay points are reintroduced for unqualified teachers and has also published these. The STRB has recommended that, if an unqualified teacher who would be eligible for the pay award is not paid on one of these pay points, employers should ‘manage’ the sum they receive so that teachers just above the pay thresholds should not be ‘significantly disadvantaged’.

The Secretary of State has confirmed that the Government’s teachers’ pay freeze does not apply to pay progression in all schools and also does not apply to the academy sector. The NASUWT will issue further advice about these matters in due course.

Other STRB conclusions and recommendations

The STRB has called on the Government to limit the teachers’ pay freeze to only one year and has stated, ‘We are firmly of the view that a pay pause for teachers of more than one year risks a severe negative impact on the competitive position of the teaching profession. The Review Body urges that we be allowed to fully exercise our role in making recommendations on pay uplifts for all teachers and school leaders for 2022/23, based on the evidence.’

The STRB has made other recommendations about the teachers’ pay and conditions framework, responding to the NASUWT’s comprehensive and detailed evidence about inequalities and discrimination in the framework, stating that it is a serious matter that questions about discrimination continue to be raised. The STRB has accepted the NASUWT’s recommendation that the Department for Education (DfE) makes use of its School Workforce Census (SWC) data to analyse the equalities impact of its 2013 teachers’ pay reforms.

The STRB has also accepted the NASUWT’s evidence about teacher wellbeing and excessive workload and has recommended, ‘Teachers’ wellbeing is an important issue and is likely to remain a significant concern, even after the additional pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic recede. It is important that teacher wellbeing is both recognised and addressed, not least because this will positively affect recruitment and retention.

'In this context, the Secretary of State told us that schools could direct some of this year’s funding increase towards better support for teachers. We encourage the Department to continue to work with the sector in reducing workload and promoting more flexible working arrangements for teachers.’

The NASUWT will provide further advice about what better support for teachers’ schools should provide during 2021/22.

Next steps

The DfE has produced a draft 2021 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), which also includes some other changes that the DfE proposes to make which do not arise from the STRB’s 31st Report. Consultation on this closes on 14 September 2021.

Schools, local authorities and employers should not make decisions on the basis of the wording of the draft 2021 STPCD, but should wait until the final 2021 STPCD is published as the content of the Document could change during the consultation process.

The NASUWT will issue further advice on the 2021 STPCD in due course.