At the beginning of the summer break, the Department for Education (DfE) announced a pay rise of up to 3.5% for teachers from September 2018 and that extra funding would be made available to cover the rise. Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, commented:
“Today we are announcing a fully funded pay rise of up to 3.5 per cent,”
“This will mean that teaching continues to be a competitively rewarded career, and I will continue to work with the profession, Ofsted and the unions on issues like excessive workload, professional development and flexible working, to make sure teaching remains an attractive, fulfilling profession.”
With many schools closed for the summer by the time the announcement was made, we will have to wait until September to find out how this will be implemented. In the meantime, we have set out below the main points for schools to consider.
Does this mean that all teachers’ pay will have to go up by 3.5%?
No, the headline figure of 3.5% applies only to unqualified teachers and those on the main pay scale. The upper pay scale will be uplifted by 2% and the leadership scale will go up by 1.5%.
Also, the percentage increases only apply to the minimum and maximum of each pay range. Therefore, whilst it will mean that those at the bottom of each pay range will be entitled to the full percentage increase, schools will still be able to decide what to pay those that fall within a particular range, in line with its pay policy.
Will extra funding be available for schools?
Yes, the Government has announced that extra funding will be made available but not for the full amount.
Schools will have to cover the first 1% of any pay increase with the remainder coming from the Government. This funding has been guaranteed for at least the next 2 years.
What options do schools have?
The announcement will apply to all maintained schools, as they must pay their teachers in accordance with the School Teacher’s Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). However, whilst many academies have traditionally followed the pay ranges set out in the STPCDs, they are not required to do so and have more freedom to set teachers’ pay to reflect local circumstances.
Departing from the STPCDs may not be a popular choice with teachers and unions but increasingly tight budgets and growing demands on academies may cause some to reconsider whether, in the long term, they want to continue to be bound by decisions about pay that are taken externally.
Reaction by Unions
The pay increases announced by the Government may not be well received by all, as it is below the amount specified by various teacher unions, who demanded an increase of 5%. Additionally, prior to the Government’s announcement, the School Teachers’ Review Body recommended that there should be an across the board 3.5% pay increase for teachers on all pay scales.
Following the announcement, there have been initial calls from teaching unions for the 3.5% to be applied across the board but we will need to wait and see whether any industrial action is commenced in response.
How Nelsons Can Help
Laura Evans is a specialist Education and Employment Law Solicitor at Nelsons.