Head teachers and teachers are being urged to voice their opinions about the school funding crisis ahead of the government’s Budget on 29 October.
In a joint video shared by the Education Executive, leaders from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), National Education Union (NEU) and Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) criticise the government for ignoring recommendations made by the School Teachers’ Review Body regarding teacher pay.
What's being suggested
The Body suggested there should be a pay rise of 3.5% for all teaching staff, including leaders, which would help in addressing the teacher shortage after years of pay caps and freezes.
Yet, the government had agreed to award the 3.5% pay increase to just four in ten teachers, while pay rises for everyone else will equate to less than the rate of inflation. Schools have also been told that they will be expected to fund the first 1% of pay increase, even though they are already under immense financial pressure.
Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed that total school spending per pupil has dropped by 8% in real terms over the last eight years.
Geoff Barton, general secretary at ASCL, said his organisation is urging teachers and leaders to reach out to MPs as parliament needs to understand “education standards are being put at risk by the government’s underfunding of schools and colleges.”
Paul Whiteman, NAHT’s general secretary, stressed how school leaders are not only having to deal with a real-terms pay cut, but are also facing an impossible scenario where they have to lay off staff in order to pay teachers the recommended salaries. “Only new money from the treasury will solve the school funding crisis,” Whiteman concluded.
Joint general secretary at NEU, Mary Bousted, said all MPs will be aware of, or would have seen, the impact severe underfunding of schools is having on their constituency. She added: “We are asking them to support the head teachers, teachers and support staff in their area who have a clear message to the Chancellor. Enough is enough.”
Kevin Courtney, also joint NEU general secretary, said the government has been successful in uniting teachers and heads. “There is unity in the teaching profession, that ministers must stop relying on dodgy statistics and instead act urgently on the twin crises of school funding and teacher supply. Our children deserve nothing less.”