A group comprising six teaching unions has urged the government to make a final decision on whether or not it will be supporting a call for a real pay rise for teachers in England, BBC News reports.
Education secretary Damian Hinds was told that schools are currently dealing with unnecessary uncertainty over what to pay teachers from this September as a result of his delayed response.
Back in May, the official body responsible for reviewing teacher pay reported to Mr Hinds, though he has not yet shared the results or his response.
At the same time, the previous pay cap of 1% for other public sector workers has been lifted.
The unions – which include the National Education Union, National Association of Head Teachers and the Association of School and College Leaders – explained in a letter to the secretary of state that schools heads and staff are wondering what is going on.
‘The end of term is imminent. Schools in some areas have already closed for the summer,’ the letter began. ‘Governing bodies cannot discuss how they will implement the pay increase. No one knows whether your government plans to support the pay increase with additional funding.’
The uncertainty has meant it has not been possible for schools to liaise with staff and ‘decide a position before the end of term.’ This has also led to doubt among schools about how they should budget.
‘The new school year will start in a climate of uncertainty about pay and funding which could have been avoided.’
STRB, the pay review body, was asked by former education secretary Justine Greening to reflect the government’s increasing flexibility with regards to public sector pay, following years of capping rises at 1%.
The body was also asked to review evidence of the ‘national state of teacher and school leader supply’ and the need to protect the public purse.
In 2017 it shared its concerns over the pay cap, which has been enforced for the last eight years.
Most schools are currently struggling to recruit and retain top talent, especially those in specialist subjects.
The unions have requested a 5% pay rise which will they say should be fully funded – i.e. not taken from budgets already in place.
The Department for Education commented it was considering the STRB report and would comment in due course.